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March 7, 2018 - Reserves are of critical importance to the health of the state's budget. These funds help cushion the impact of a budget problem that emerges during a recession. In this report, our office provides an overview of revenue losses that have occurred in past recessions to consider the magnitude of a budget problem that could emerge in the future. Then, we describe the Governor's reserve proposal for 2018-19 and compare this level to past reserves and other states. Next, to aid the Legislature as it evaluates the Governor’s proposal, we present a framework that the Legislature can use to plan for a recession and determine a target level of reserves. Finally, we conclude with our office’s comments on the Governor’s proposed level of reserves in light of this framework and present some alternatives for legislative consideration.
March 1, 2018 - Proposition 55 (2016) aimed to increase funding for Medi-Cal under a formula administered by the Department of Finance. In 2018-19, the first year of implementation of this calculation, the administration’s interpretations and estimates result in no additional funds to Medi-Cal. Two key choices lead to this result. First, the administration’s decision to subtract $3.5 billion from available revenues to account for its proposed optional reserve deposit significantly reduces the calculation’s starting point, eliminating a surplus that would have directed funds to Medi-Cal. Second, the administration’s workload budget approach is based on a broad definition of currently authorized services, which also has the effect of reducing the amount of potential funds for Medi-Cal under the measure. Different decisions about these two features of the measure could result in more or less funding for Medi-Cal by hundreds of millions—or even billions—of dollars in the future.
February 27, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes a total of $17.2 billion from various fund sources for judicial and criminal justice programs in 2018‑19. This is an increase of $302 million, or 2 percent, above estimated expenditures for the current year. The budget includes General Fund support for judicial and criminal justice programs of $13.9 billion in 2018‑19, which is an increase of $270 million, or 2 percent, over the current‑year level. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.
February 16, 2018 - In this report we provide a broad overview of the Governor's health and human services budget, highlighting major year-over-year changes. We then provide a more in-depth analysis of select programmatic areas.
February 15, 2018 - In this report, we first provide background on online education at the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State University (CSU), and University of California (UC). We then describe the Governor’s proposal to create a new intersegmental online program, assess that proposal, and make an associated recommendation.
February 15, 2018 - In this report, we first provide background on adult education and review the restructuring of adult education that the state embarked on in 2013-14. We then describe the Governor’s two 2018-19 adult education proposals. Next, we assess those proposals and examine various unresolved issues relating to the alignment of adult education policies among community colleges and adult schools. Lastly, we make recommendations relating to the Governor’s proposals and policy alignment.
February 15, 2018 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for Hastings College of the Law, describe the school’s proposed spending plan, assess that plan, and offer an associated recommendation.
February 15, 2018 -
In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. We begin by providing an overview of higher education in California. In the next four sections, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for the three public higher education segments and the California Student Aid Commission. In each of these sections, we provide relevant background, describe and assess the proposals, and make associated recommendations. The final section of the report consists of a summary of our recommendations.
In addition to this report, we have three other higher education budget briefs that analyze the Governor’s proposals for adult education, Hastings College of the Law, and the California Education Learning Lab.
February 14, 2018 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize our major findings and recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.
February 9, 2018 - In this report, we (1) provide background material on the types of training and educational opportunities the CCC offers and how the CCC is funded, (2) discuss the CCC’s goals and objectives for improving its training and work program and the corpsmember outcomes it currently tracks (3) assess the lack of corpsmember outcome data and the feasibility of establishing meaningful corpsmember outcome measures and (4) recommend steps the Legislature could take to improve outcome measurements for corpsmembers and to improve the overall performance of the department.
February 8, 2018 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for various transportation departments and programs. We begin by providing an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for each department and program. In the next section, we discuss two cross‑cutting state transportation issues: (1) funding from the tax and fee increases authorized by Chapter 5 of 2017 (SB 1, Beall), and (2) an update on the condition of the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA). In the following three sections, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for Caltrans, CHP, and DMV. In each of these sections, we provide relevant background, describe the proposals, assess the proposals, and identify issues and recommendations for legislative consideration. The final section consists of a summary of the recommendations we make throughout the report.
January 31, 2018 - In this report, we (1) provide brief background information about Developmental Center (DC) closures and the Department of Developmental Services budget, (2) discuss potential savings in terms of net operational savings and increased revenues from the sale or repurposing (specifically leasing) of DC properties, and (3) address other practical implications and trade‑offs of the proposal.
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.
January 8, 2018 - The Supplemental Report of the 2017-18 Budget Act directed our office to report on the programmatic and fiscal implications of ending a long-standing state policy that provides Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) recipients an extra $10 payment in lieu of their being eligible to receive federal food benefits through California’s CalFresh program. This is known as the SSI cash-out (or the CalFresh cash-out). In this report, we (1) describe how ending the SSI cash-out would affect households differently, (2) discuss the estimated statewide net effect of ending the SSI cash-out on federal food benefits drawn down by the state and how any variation in the underlying assumptions can create significantly different estimates, (3) provide examples of how ending the SSI cash-out would affect the poverty status of certain households, and (4) as directed by the Supplemental Report, discuss potential options the Legislature could consider to hold households negatively affected by the elimination of the SSI cash-out harmless and present additional issues that merit legislative consideration.