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Report

The Potential Effects of Ending the SSI Cash-Out

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.

Report

Evaluating California’s System for Serving Infants and Toddlers With Special Needs

January 4, 2018 - In 2015‑16, California provided early intervention services to about 41,000 infants and toddlers with special needs. These infants and toddlers either have a disability (such as a visual or hearing impairment) or a significant developmental delay (such as not beginning to speak or walk when expected). California’s early intervention system consists of three programs administered by two types of local agencies—schools and regional centers for persons with developmental disabilities. This report provides the first comprehensive analysis of this system since it was established in 1993. The report has three main sections. We first provide background on California’s early intervention system, then assess this system, and conclude by recommending several ways to improve the system.

Report

An Evaluation of CSU's Cross-Campus Online Education Program

January 3, 2018 - CSU is required by statute to (1) adopt a systemwide definition of online education, (2) report biennially on certain enrollment and performance data related to online education, and (3) report on the feasibility of developing an online bachelor’s degree completion program for students who started college but never obtained a degree. Chapter 82 of 2016 (AB 2908, Committee on Higher Education) requires our office to assess CSU’s implementation of these requirements and report to the Legislature by January 1, 2018. This report fulfills that statutory requirement.

Report

CCC and UC: An Evaluation of Best Value Procurement Pilot Programs

December 21, 2017 - Chapter 708 of 2012 (Pavley) created pilot programs authorizing best value (BV) in the procurement of goods and services at the California Community Colleges (CCC) and the University of California (UC). Under the BV pilot programs, CCC and UC can consider noncost factors—such as quality and experience—when selecting vendors, rather than selecting vendors based solely on lowest cost. Chapter 708 required CCC and UC to provide our office with certain information on their use of BV during the pilot period. Based on that information, the legislation further required our office to recommend whether to continue CCC's and UC's BV authority. This report fulfills that requirement.

Report

California Public Higher Education: Funding Supplemental Services for Low-Income and First-Generation Students

December 20, 2017 - The Supplemental Report of the 2017-18 Budget Act required our office to examine how much existing funding and support is provided to these students and identify options for increasing that funding and support. This report fulfills this requirement.

Report

California Community Colleges: Interim Evaluation of Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program

December 19, 2017 - Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorizes California Community Colleges (CCC) to offer baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degrees on a pilot basis at 15 community college districts. It also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot program. This report fulfills that statutory requirement. In this report, we provide background on CCC’s role in California’s higher education system and describe the main components of the statewide pilot program. We then (1) describe and evaluate the selection of the pilot bachelor’s degree programs, (2) provide initial information about students participating in the pilot programs, and (3) discuss the financing of these programs. We conclude by identifying issues for the Legislature to consider as the 15 colleges continue implementing the pilot program.

Report

Cap-and-Trade Extension: Issues for Legislative Oversight

December 12, 2017 - In this report, we (1) provide background information on cap‑and‑trade and the recent extension of the program to 2030, (2) identify key administrative implementation decisions that could affect program outcomes and the need for legislative oversight, (3) identify potential opportunities to increase the effectiveness of a new advisory committee created by AB 398, and (4) describe potential state cap‑and‑trade revenue scenarios through 2030.

Report

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.

Report

Improving In-Prison Rehabilitation Programs

December 6, 2017 - In this report, we (1) provide background information on the state’s in-prison rehabilitation programs (including their intended goals), (2) outline key program principles for maximizing reductions in recidivism, (3) identify key shortcomings in the state’s rehabilitation programs, and (4) make recommendations to improve how the state provides in-prison rehabilitation programs.

Report

A Review of Caltrans’ Vehicle Insurance Costs

December 5, 2017 - In this report, we (1) describe various aspects of Caltrans’ vehicle usage, including the types of vehicles the department owns and its policies for employees to drive them; (2) provide an overview of the state’s vehicle liability self‑insurance program in which Caltrans participates; (3) examine the recent increases in Caltrans’ insurance premiums; and (4) identify options to contain the department’s premium costs. In accordance with the reporting language, we focus on Caltrans’ vehicle liability insurance costs in the report, though some of our findings could have implications for vehicle insurance costs for other state departments as well as state liability for other incidents besides vehicle collisions.

Report

The 2018-19 Budget: Proposition 98 Outlook

November 15, 2017 - Proposition 98 (1988) establishes a minimum annual funding requirement for schools and community colleges. In this report, we (1) explain how our estimates of the minimum requirement have changed since the adoption of the June budget plan, (2) identify the new funding available in 2018-19, and (3) highlight a few key trends affecting schools and community colleges over the next four years.

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.

Report

Evaluating California's Pursuit of Zero Net Energy State Buildings

November 14, 2017 - In this report, we provide background information on ZNE buildings as well as the administration’s approach to meeting the executive order’s goals for state‑owned ZNE buildings. Then, we assess the administration’s approach to these buildings. Finally, we recommend that the Legislature adopt its own policies related to ZNE for state buildings and take steps to ensure that it has adequate information to evaluate future administration proposals for state‑owned ZNE buildings.

Report

Review of the California Competes Tax Credit

October 31, 2017 - California Competes awards income tax credits to attract or retain businesses considering a significant new investment in California. In this report, we reviewed California Competes’ experience to date in meeting the Legislature’s goals for the program.

Report

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.

Report

Volatility of California’s Personal Income Tax Structure

September 28, 2017 - For many years, personal income tax (PIT) volatility has complicated budgetary planning. This report analyzes the causes of PIT volatility. We find that about 40 percent of PIT volatility is due to choices about which types of income to tax, another 40 percent is due to the progressive rate structure, and the last 20 percent is due to deductions and credits. The Legislature could choose to make the tax less volatile, but actions to reduce volatility could reduce future growth of state tax revenues.