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January 12, 2018 - This publication is our office’s initial response to the Governor’s 2018-19 budget. In the proposed plan, the Governor places a high priority on building reserves, proposing a total reserve balance of nearly $16 billion. We believe the Governor’s continued focus on building more reserves is prudent in light of economic and federal budget uncertainty. In addition to building reserves, the Governor’s proposed budget allocates sizeable funding increases available within the constitutionally required guarantee for schools and community colleges and supports a variety of new infrastructure projects. This report also discusses how new federal tax changes may affect state revenues and reasons why we believe there could be more resources available in May.
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.
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.
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.
December 21, 2017 - Our recent Fiscal Outlook publication considers potential future requirements under Proposition 2 (2014)—including required rainy day fund deposits and payments toward certain state debts. Some have asked whether Proposition 2 debt funding payments can be used to reduce liabilities of teacher and other public employees' pension plans. As we discuss in this post, there may be little ongoing capacity to make additional commitments from Proposition 2 debt funding payments through the mid-2020s.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November 15, 2017 - The near-term budget outlook is positive. Under our current estimates, the state would have $19.3 billion in total reserves (including $7.5 billion in discretionary reserves) at the end of 2018-19, assuming the Legislature makes no additional budget commitments. The Legislature can use discretionary resources to build more budget reserves, increase spending, and/or reduce taxes. We also estimate the Legislature will have $5.3 billion in uncommitted school and community college (Proposition 98) funds to allocate in 2018-19. We provide more detail on our estimates of Proposition 98 funding in a separate report accompanying this outlook. The state has made significant progress in preparing for the next recession. To assess the longer-term budget outlook, we present two illustrative economic scenarios for fiscal years after 2018-19. Under a moderate recession scenario, the state has enough reserves to cover its deficits until 2021-22, assuming the Legislature makes no additional budget commitments. Additional budget commitments in the near term could cause the state to exhaust its reserves earlier in the next recession
This year, our Fiscal Outlook includes this report and a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.
November 15, 2017 - This web post provides information about the fiscal outlook for the Department of Developmental Services from 2017-18 through 2021-22. It also considers the fiscal impact of the closure of state-run Developmental Centers, which will occur over the outlook period.