Chas Alamo
(916) 319-8357
Personal Income Tax, Employment, and Labor Law
Ann Hollingshead
(916) 319-8305
State Budget and Federal Funding
Nick Schroeder
(916) 319-8314
Public Employment, CalPERS, Elections, Veterans Affairs
Angela Short
(916) 319-8309
Child Welfare, Child Support, Community Services and Development, Community Care Licensing, CalSTRS
Jared Sippel
(916) 319-8335
Emergency Services and Business Regulation
Alex Bentz
(916) 319-8312
Property Taxes, Bonds, and the Economy
Seth Kerstein
(916) 319-8365
Sales and Excise Taxes and Demographics


Other Government Areas

To browse all LAO publications, visit our Publications page.


The 2018-19 Budget: Department of General Services

February 20, 2018 - This analysis includes reviews of the following 2018‑19 budget proposals for DGS: (1) the construction of three state office buildings in the Sacramento area—Richards Boulevard, Bateson, and Unruh projects; and (2) Zero-Emission Vehicles.


The 2018-19 Budget: Administration of the 2017 Housing Package

February 8, 2018 - This post reviews the Governor’s proposal to provide resources to the California Department of Housing and Community Development to administer the 2017 legislative housing package. Overall, we find the request to be reasonable. We suggest the Legislature consider a few opportunities to give the administration additional direction on how the housing package should be implemented.


The 2018-19 Budget: Department of Consumer Affairs

February 6, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes to reduce 11 positions and $1.3 million annually (Real Estate Fund) for the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) beginning in 2018‑19 to reflect the transfer of the Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) out of DCA. We recommend the Legislature require that DCA report at spring budget hearings on the reasons for the difference between the charges that have been paid by CalBRE for DCA services ($5.7 million in 2017‑18) and the much smaller proposed reduction to DCA’s budget. We further recommend that the Legislature require DCA to begin tracking and reporting information on the use of DCA services by boards and bureaus to better assess whether there are widespread differences between the charges paid by entities and the services they are receiving.


The 2018-19 Budget: California Military Department

February 6, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes $3.6 million in one-time General Fund in 2018‑19 and $3.3 million in ongoing General Fund to provide California Military Department (CMD) support to two public charter schools, the California Military Institute (CMI) and Porterville Military Institute (PMI). We recommend rejecting the proposed General Fund appropriation, but approving position and associated reimbursement authority for CMD. This should enable CMD to provide support to CMI and PMI if these schools choose to allocate some of their Proposition 98 funds to supplement their staffing with CMD personnel.


The 2018-19 Budget: Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

February 1, 2018 - The Governor proposes $207,000 from the Alcohol Beverage Control Fund in 2018-19, rising to $265,000 in 2022-23 and annually thereafter to fund additional rental costs associated with ABC occupying privately owned leased space rather than its current space in the state-owned Santa Ana State Building. We recommend rejecting this proposal because it is not needed given that the Legislature has decided it does not want to proceed with the administration’s plan to move ABC and other departments into the proposed privately owned leased space.


The 2018-19 Budget: California Achieving a Better Life Experience Board

January 31, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes $900,000 in 2018-19 from a General Fund loan to support the continued implementation of CalABLE. While the proposal appears reasonable and we recommend its approval, we also recommend that the Legislature require CalABLE to provide a report that includes an evaluation of possible alternatives for reaching long-term financial self-sufficiency.


The 2018-19 Budget: State Treasurer’s Office

January 31, 2018 - The Governor proposes $450,000 in General Fund in 2018-19 and $400,000 annually thereafter to fund costs associated with providing IT support to State Treasurer's Office (STO) and the various boards, commissions, and authorities (BCA). We recommend that the Legislature approve the amount of the requested budget augmentation, but fund it from the various funds that support the STO and the BCAs rather than solely from the General Fund.


State Archives: Limited Space for a Growing Collection

January 8, 2018 - The State Archives preserves and stores state government records of historical significance. Its collection of both physical and digital records grows annually. Under current practices, the State Archives will exhaust its capacity to store physical records within the next 15 years. To address these capacity concerns, we present two alternatives for legislative consideration. First, the Legislature could increase the Archives’ physical capacity while keeping archival practices similar to the status quo. This alternative would require the state to begin a planning process within the next few years. Second, the Legislature could direct the State Archives to rely principally on digital records in the future. This alternative could limit or delay the need for a new building, but would involve changes in state processes and new information technology systems.


Evaluation of the Statewide Project Management Office

December 7, 2017 - In this report, we provide background regarding the objectives and operations of the Project Management Office (PMO), detail our findings in evaluating the PMO, introduce two significant recent developments and their impacts on the PMO, and make associated recommendations on how the Legislature should proceed to better align the office with the original legislative intent.


State Fiscal Effects of California’s Minimum Wage

November 15, 2017 - This post discusses the fiscal effects of California's minimum wage on the General Fund.

This is part of a collection of material for The 2018-19 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook. See a complete list of this year's fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.


The Property Tax Inheritance Exclusion

October 9, 2017 - When a property changes hands the taxes paid for the property often increase substantially. This is not true for most inherited property. Three decades ago, the Legislature and voters decided inherited property should not be reassessed when transferred. This has been a consequential decision. Many have benefited from the tax savings this policy affords. Nonetheless, the inheritance exclusion raises some policy concerns. Because of this, the Legislature may want to revisit the inheritance exclusion. Depending on the Legislature’s goals, the existing policy may be crafted too broadly and options are available to better target its benefits.

A short video accompanies this report.


July 2017 Update: Los Angeles’ Bid for the Olympics and Paralympics

July 6, 2017 - Los Angeles' prospects for hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Games are strong, according to widespread reports. The California Legislature has provided a $250 million backup guarantee for shortfalls of the 2024 Games, but Los Angeles' bid for 2024 is fairly low risk and it is hoped that no state guarantee funds will ever have to be paid out. As the possible due date for the Governor's execution of a guarantee contract with Games organizers approaches, our office continues to recommend a strong legislative oversight role to help Games organizers deliver a low-cost and successful event. This update focuses on (1) yesterday's report from a key Olympic commission evaluating the 2024 bids of Los Angeles and Paris and (2) the widely reported possibility that Los Angeles or Paris will be offered the chance to host the Games in 2028 instead of 2024.


State Administration and General Government Agenda, Page 15 Item 1111-003-0702—BreEZe System and Organizational Change Management LAO Compromise Provisional Language

June 8, 2017 - Presented to: Budget Conference Committee


Options for Reforming the State Board of Equalization

June 7, 2017 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6 On Budget Process, Oversight, and Program Evaluation


The 2017-18 Budget: The Governor's May Revision Cannabis-Related Proposals

May 16, 2017 -

In this analysis, we discuss the Governor’s cannabis-related May Revision proposals for seven state departments. Based on our initial review of these proposals, we provide (1) overarching comments and (2) recommendations on each department’s specific proposal.

LAO Bottom Line. The Governor’s May Revision proposes 201 positions and $43.2 million in 2017‑18 from various funds to conduct cannabis regulation-related activities. These resources are provided across seven state departments. Based on our initial review, we recommend making key policy choices regarding how the cannabis industry will be regulated before finalizing budget decisions, as well as limiting the amount of out-year funding provided to departments given the high level of uncertainty regarding future workloads. Accordingly, we also provide recommendations on each department’s specific proposal.