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Update on School District Budgets

November 16, 2020 - This post provides an update on the fiscal condition of California’s school districts as the state begins the process for developing its 2021-22 budget.

Hearing Handout

Overview of Plastics in California

November 16, 2020 - Presented to: Assembly Natural Resources Committee Hon. Laura Friedman, Chair Select Committee on Waste Reduction and Recycling Hon. Kevin McCarty, Chair

Hearing Handout

Update on COVID-19 Spending in California

November 10, 2020 - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process Oversight and Program Evaluation and Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization

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An Analysis of University Reserves

November 10, 2020 - The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the shift to campuses operating re-motely, the economic downturn, and state funding reductions have created fiscal challenges for the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC). To help address these challenges, the 2020-21 Budget Act signaled the Legislature’s intent that the universities begin drawing down their core reserves for academic programs. Prior to the pandemic, the most recent data available showed that core reserves totaled $1.7 billion at CSU and $1.2 billion at UC. CSU and UC also plan to use their noncore reserves to maintain their self-supporting pro-grams (such as housing and parking), which have lost revenue due to remote operations. Importantly, though the state viewed the universities’ reserves as a budget tool for mitigating funding reductions this year, state law is silent on the level of reserves CSU and UC are to carry, the purposes of those reserves, and the interaction of those reserves with the state’s reserves. We encourage the Legislature to set clearer expectations regarding the state’s and the segments’ responsibilities for building reserves for future economic uncertainties. Developing a specific policy in this area would benefit from further analysis, as the reserve levels required to respond to any future situation would depend upon many factors (including the magnitude of a future economic downturn and the likelihood the state reduces funding for the universities).

Updated 12/10/20: This post has been updated to reflect new reserve levels at UC Santa Barbara.

Report

Expanding Access to Safe and Affordable Drinking Water in California—A Status Update

November 10, 2020 - In 2019 the Legislature passed and the Governor signed Chapter 120 (SB 200, Monning) establishing the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water (SADW) Fund, which provides up to $130 million annually for efforts to provide safe drinking water for every California community. The legislation tasked the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) with administering the funding and overseeing efforts to implement both short‑ and long‑term solutions to persistent drinking water problems. One year later, SWRCB has made good progress in establishing spending priorities, beginning to allocate funds and execute projects, and collecting essential data to identify the communities that should be targeted for improvements. However, the state is still in the very early stages of implementation. Given the serious threats to public health, safety, and environmental justice posed by existing drinking water deficiencies, the Legislature will want to continue conducting robust oversight over how efforts to rectify these conditions proceed.

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An Analysis of University Cash Management Issues

November 10, 2020 - In contrast to the state, the California State University and the University of California typically do not face cash timing issues. The universities also tend to have relatively larger cash cushions, which have allowed them over time to invest more of their cash in long-term investment accounts and even assist the state in managing its cash challenges. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and recession, however, have changed these dynamics. While the state has a larger cash cushion compared to previous recessions, the pandemic has resulted in notable revenue declines at campuses, which have weakened their cash positions. To weather the reduction in revenues, the universities have implemented, or are considering, internal borrowing and transfers, shifting more money back into short-term investment accounts, and issuing bonds to help cover operating costs. These actions will help the universities meet the unprecedented challenges wrought by the pandemic, but they come with trade-offs and risks. Given these developments, monitoring the universities’ fiscal condition over the coming years will be especially important for the Legislature.

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Update on COVID-19 Spending in California

November 5, 2020 - This post provides a high-level summary of state and federal funds provided to date to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this post we discuss: (1) the authorities, at both the state and federal levels, for COVID-19 spending; (2) the state, federal, and other funding sources for COVID-19 spending; and (3) the amounts of COVID-19 spending authorized so far, organized by different purposes and program areas.

Updated 11/12/20: State and federal government spending on certain activities to control the spread of COVID-19 revised upward to $8.6 billion.

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The 2020-21 Spending Plan: Proposition 98 and K-12 Education

October 29, 2020 - This post summarizes overall Proposition 98 funding and K-12 education spending in the 2020-21 budget package. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget.

Hearing Handout

Reopening Schools in California

October 27, 2020 - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance

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The 2020-21 Spending Plan: Human Services

October 23, 2020 - This post summarizes the state’s 2020-21 spending package for major human services programs. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget.

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The 2020-21 Spending Plan: Judiciary and Criminal Justice

October 22, 2020 - This post provides an overview of the major judiciary and criminal justice proposals approved as part of the 2020-21 budget package. The 2020 21 budget provides $15.9 billion from the General Fund for judicial and criminal justice programs, including support for program operations and capital outlay projects. This is a decrease of $207 million, or 1.3 percent, below the revised 2019 20 spending level.

Hearing Handout

California Fiscal Impact of Overturning the ACA

October 21, 2020 - Senate Health Committee

Updated 11/13/2020.

Hearing Handout

State Spending on Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation

October 20, 2020 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation Hon. Richard Bloom, Chair

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State Wildfire Response Costs Estimated to Be Higher Than Budgeted

October 19, 2020 - This post discusses the administration’s recent notice to the Legislature, which estimates state emergency costs of $1.3 billion to fight this year’s wildfires. Provides context on the extreme wildfire season of 2020, as well as implications for the state budget.

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The 2020-21 Spending Plan: Higher Education

October 16, 2020 - This post summarizes the state’s 2020-21 spending package for higher education. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget. In this post, we cover spending for the California Community Colleges, California State University, University of California, and student financial aid. The EdBudget part of our website contains dozens of tables providing more detail about the 2020-21 education budget package.