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Report

Assessing Vulnerability of State Assets to Climate Change

January 9, 2020 - This post summarizes the current efforts being undertaken by state departments to assess the vulnerability of state facilities to the future impacts of climate change. We find that most state agencies are only in the early stages of conducting such assessments, which are a critical first step of a multistep process of planning to reduce risks to state assets and public services. We provide a number of oversight questions the Legislature can use to monitor what progress is being made by individual state departments.

Report

FI$Cal IT Project Update—Special Project Report 8

January 8, 2020 - This report analyzes how the most recent project plan for the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) information technology (IT) project—that has been under development since 2005—changes the project's cost, scope, and schedule. We also discuss what work is anticipated to remain even after the project is deemed by the administration to be "complete." Lastly, we make associated findings and recommendations.

Report

Assessing California’s Climate Policies—Electricity Generation

January 6, 2020 - In this report, we assess the effects of the state’s major policies intended to reduce emissions from the generation of electricity.

Report

Potential Impacts of Recent State Asset Forfeiture Changes

January 6, 2020 - Chapter 831 of 2016 (SB 443, Mitchell) made various changes to the state’s asset forfeiture processes related to drugs. These changes generally make it more challenging for state and local law enforcement agencies to pursue certain asset forfeiture cases. Senate Bill 443 also requires our office to provide a report that contains data about the economic impact of these changes on state and local law enforcement budgets. This report responds to that requirement.

Report

The 2020-21 Budget: Analyzing UC and CSU Cost Pressures

December 18, 2019 - California operates two public university systems: (1) the University of California (UC), consisting of 10 campuses, and (2) the California State University (CSU), consisting of 23 campuses. The Legislature faces many pressures to increase funding for UC and CSU in 2020‑21. This report examines these university cost pressures, assesses the state’s capacity to fund some of them, and identifies options for expanding budget capacity to fund additional cost pressures.

Report

How High? Adjusting California’s Cannabis Taxes

December 17, 2019 - In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized the nonmedical use of cannabis (typically called recreational or adult use) and created a structure for regulating and taxing it. In this report we provide (1) background information on cannabis and its legalization in California, (2) a discussion of the effects of adjusting the tax rate, (3) an assessment of other potential changes to California’s cannabis tax structure, and (4) recommendations for the Legislature.

Report

A Key Interaction Between Sales Taxes and Other Taxes on Cannabis Retailers

December 17, 2019 - In this post, we discuss a key interaction between sales taxes and other taxes on cannabis retailers—in particular, local business taxes. Due to this opaque, counterintuitive interaction, the overall tax rate on cannabis is slightly higher than it appears to be. We recommend that the Legislature make statutory changes to address this issue.

Report

Comparing Taxes on Cannabis to Taxes on Other Products in California

December 17, 2019 - In this post, we describe some of the similarities and differences between taxes on cannabis and taxes on other products in California. Our estimates suggest that taxes on certain cannabis products are roughly comparable to taxes on distilled spirits but much higher than taxes on beer and wine. California’s state and local governments generally tax cannabis—including medical cannabis—more heavily than other medicines. In some instances, however, exemptions can make tax rates on medical cannabis comparable to tax rates on other medicines.

Report

Preparing for Rising Seas: How the State Can Help Support Local Coastal Adaptation Efforts

December 10, 2019 - This report responds to increasing legislative interest in determining how the state can best prepare for the impacts of climate change, including sea‑level rise (SLR).

Also see this Summary Fact Sheet for the report

Handout

The Mental Health Services Act: Issues for Legislative Consideration

December 9, 2019 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services

Perspective

Tempered Expectations

December 9, 2019 - Under the baseline scenario in our recently released report The 2020-21 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook, we estimate California's General Fund is on track for a $7 billion surplus in 2020-21, with around $3 billion available for new, ongoing commitments. Additionally, we estimate the state's rainy day fund will grow to $18.3 by the end of 2020-21. Despite these large estimated surpluses and reserves, our central recommendation to the Legislature is to limit its new, ongoing spending commitments to approximately $1 billion or less in the 2020-21 budget. In this new installment of Fiscal Perspectives, Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek provides additional context for understanding the importance of limiting new, ongoing spending in the coming budget, with a short discussion of the state's fiscal structure, the state's economic backdrop, and other potential risks and uncertainties.

Report

Interim Evaluation of Community College Basic Skills Transformation Grants

December 5, 2019 - Chapter 22 of 2015 (SB 81, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) created a Basic Skills Transformation Grant initiative to improve basic skills education at the community colleges. The legislation directed our office to submit an interim evaluation by December 1, 2019 and a final evaluation by December 1, 2021. This brief fulfills the interim reporting requirement.

Presentation

California's Fiscal Outlook: CASBO Presentation

November 21, 2019 - Presented to the California Association of School Business Officials on November 21, 2019.

Report

The 2020-21 Budget: CalWORKs Child Care Outlook

November 21, 2019 - This post is part of our November Outlook series intended to help the Legislature plan for the budget year ahead. In this post, we provide background on the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) child care program, discuss our projections of future CalWORKs child care costs, and identify various risks and uncertainties that could affect these future costs.

In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.

Report

The 2020-21 Budget: Cal Grant Cost Estimates

November 21, 2019 - This post describes the key factors driving recent spending increases on Cal Grants, the state’s main form of student financial aid. It also discusses our Cal Grant spending estimates through 2023-24.

In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.