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
Brian Uhler
(916) 319-8328
Deputy Legislative Analyst: Economy, Taxes, and Labor
Seth Kerstein
(916) 319-8365
Sales and Excise Taxes and Demographics


Economy and Taxes

To browse all LAO publications, visit our Publications page.


Perspectives on State Revenues 2003-04

February 19, 2003 - We estimate that revenues will exceed the budget forecast by a net of $1.3 billion in 2002-03 and 2003-04 combined. Our higher estimate assumes a somewhat earlier and stronger economic recovery than does the administration.


Governor's Tax Increase Proposal

January 30, 2003 - Hearing handout presented to the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee


Lease-Leaseback Transactions by Public Transit Districts--Sales and Use Tax Exemption

January 28, 2003 - The Sales and Use Tax exclusion granted through Chapter 592 is scheduled to sunset on January 1, 2004. Based on our examination of the impact of this exemption on state and local governments, we believe that a strong case can be made for removing the sunset and allowing the exclusion to continue


An Overview of California's Manufacturers' Investment Credit

October 30, 2002 - We review and assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Manufacturers’ Investment Credit.


California Spending Plan 2002-03: The Budget Act and Related Legislation

September 27, 2002 - In this report, we discuss the factors underlying the major fiscal challenge facing the state in 2002-03, describe the key actions taken to address the shortfall, and provide detail on the adopted budget package.


The Vehicle License Fee and The 2002-03 Budget

February 20, 2002 - We provide a history of the VLF tax reductions and an explanation of the distribution of the revenues. We also answer many common questions regarding the VLF—including information about the insufficient moneys provision in current law.


Using Borrowing to Help Address the Budget Problem

February 20, 2002 - We discuss the Governor's different types of budget balancing borrowing ($4.8 billion) and the factors that should be focused on by the Legislature in evaluating these proposals and other types of borrowing options.


The 2002-03 Budget: Perspectives and Issues

February 20, 2002 - Perspectives on the state's fiscal condition and the budget proposed by the Governor for 2002-03. We find that the state will need to identify and additional $5 billion in budget solutions beyond those proposed by the administration.


State Fiscal Picture 2002-03

February 20, 2002 - Based on our projections of revenues and expenditures, adoption of the Governor's spending policies would result in a year-end deficit of about $4.5 billion in 2002-03. This represents a $5 billion deterioration in the budget condition relative to the administration's estimate, which assumes a $511 million reserve.


Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 2002-03

February 20, 2002 - The U.S. and California economies are nearly one year into a recession that was initially caused by such factors as sharp declines in spending by businesses on capital goods, and then aggravated by the September 11 terrorist attacks. The downturn has been mild so far in terms of employment, although more severe in terms of income losses. Our forecast is that the recession will conclude in the next couple of months and that a sustained expansion will begin before mid-year. While employment will recoup its losses by the end of 2002, the decline in income related to stock options will be longer lasting. Our outlook is predicated on (1) a rebound in high-tech spending in the second half of the year and (2) the absence of significant terrorism-related disruptions to the national or state economies.


Perspectives on State Revenues 2002-03

February 20, 2002 - The state is facing a major budget shortfall caused largely by an unprecedented decline in tax receipts. Specifically, General Fund revenues are projected to fall by over 14 percent in 2001-02, just two years after the state experienced a more than 23 percent increase. In addition, basic revenue volatility has increased in recent years, giving the revenue forecast greater uncertainty.


Options for Addressing the State's Fiscal Problems

February 20, 2002 - We estimate that the state will need to identify $5 billion in additional budget solutions beyond those proposed by the administration. This compendium contains more than 100 expenditure reduction/revenue raising options to help the Legislature address this larger shortfall. In better fiscal times we would not necessarily put such options on the table, however we offer them in the context of a need to solve a growing budget shortfall.


Addressing the State's Fiscal Problem

December 19, 2001 - Due to weak economic and revenue performance, California faces a $12.4 billion budget shortfall in 2002-03. We identify several key budget-balancing principles and strategies and identify specific spending and revenue options for implementing these strategies. Finally, we review the administration's initial proposals to address the current-year shortfall and offer additional current-year options for the Legislature to consider.


California's Fiscal Outlook: LAO Projections, 2001-02 Through 2006-07

November 14, 2001 - California will end 2001-02 with a deficit of $4.5 billion, while the 2002-03 budget year faces a shortfall of $12.4 billion and potentially even more if the recovery we are assuming for next spring is delayed. Annual budget shortfalls will persist well beyond 2002-03 absent corrective actions. Thus substantial ongoing expenditure cuts and/or revenue augmentations are required to bring the budget back into balance.


The Power Crisis is the Key "Wild Card" in the LAO Economic Outlook

February 21, 2001 - The most pressing challenge currently facing the state relates to its electricity crisis, especially in light of the multiplicity of ways that energy affects the economy and ultimately the state's finances.