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The 2021-22 Budget: California Department of Technology

February 8, 2021 - This post discusses 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposals for the California Department of Technology to use General Fund to pay the costs of some existing information security programs and services, and to create new programs and services that are intended to improve the delivery of critical state services using information technology (IT) systems and the stability of the state’s legacy IT infrastructure.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Transitional Kindergarten Expansion Package

February 5, 2021 - This post analyzes the Governor’s Transitional Kindergarten expansion proposals and offers comments for the Legislature to consider.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Special Education Proposals

February 4, 2021 - This post provides background on special education preschool and school Medi-Cal billing, describes the Governor's proposals related to these topics, details our assessments of the proposals, and offers associated recommendations for the Legislature to consider.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Peace Officer Training Mandate

February 4, 2021 - The intent of Chapter 469 of 2015 (SB 29, Beall) was to improve peace officers’ abilities to identify and effectively respond to individuals with mental health, intellectual disability, or substance use disorders. The Commission on State Mandates has found that requiring field training officers (FTOs) to complete at least eight hours of training on this topic constitutes a reimbursable mandate. Given the state’s interest in promoting trust in law enforcement and in minimizing unnecessary harm to members of the public, we recommend funding this mandate to ensure FTOs receive at least this amount of training.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Analysis of the Governor’s CalWORKs Proposals

February 3, 2021 - In this post, we provide important background on California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), updates on how caseload has been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and analyze the Governor’s proposed CalWORKs budget. In short, caseload has declined precipitously in the most recent data, reaching a new all-time low in November 2020 (the most recent month for which there are data). This runs contrary to both the Governor’s budget (which assumes a fairly rapid rate of caseload growth from 2020 through 2022) and the historic relationship between caseload and economic data (which suggests caseload should increase following increased unemployment). In line with other efforts the administration is proposing to support low-income individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, we suggest the Legislature work with the administration to understand the factors leading to the lower than expected caseload and explore options for ensuring CalWORKs assistance reaches eligible families.

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Estimating the CalWORKs Take-Up Rate

February 2, 2021 - This is the first in a series of several posts estimating the percentage of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)-eligible individuals who actually enroll in the program—otherwise known as the CalWORKs take-up rate. In this post, we introduce our methodology for estimating the number of families eligible for CalWORKs since 2005 and compare this to the number who actually enrolled. In future posts, we plan to examine how this take-up rate varies between different regions in the state, as well as possible reasons why it varies regionally and has changed over time.

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The 2021-22 Budget: California State Payroll System IT Project

February 2, 2021 - This post discusses 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposals for the State Controller’s Office and the California Department of Human Resources to continue planning a replacement for the state’s current payroll system—the proposed California State Payroll System information technology project.

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The 2021-22 Budget: California Arts Council

February 1, 2021 - In this post, we provide our analysis of the Governor's proposal to provide the California Arts Council $15 million from the General Fund on a one-time basis to support grants for artwork designed to create public awareness of the methods for stopping the spread of COVID-19.

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The 2021-22 Budget: The Governor’s Suspension Proposal

January 29, 2021 - Under current law, about $1.3 billion in state expenditures—including many that directly support core government services—are subject to potential suspension in 2021-22. Given that the state has a significant windfall, it is unlikely that these suspensions would be operative under current law. The Governor proposes maintaining the suspension calculation for 2022-23. We recommend the Legislature reject the proposed suspension language. Given that the state likely faces multiyear deficits, the Legislature might want to evaluate some the suspension items to ensure the programs are meeting their policy objectives.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Extended Learning and Academic Support

January 29, 2021 - In this post, we provide background on school closures and recent funding to address learning loss, describe the Governor’s proposal to allocate $4.6 billion to schools in spring 2021 to address student learning loss caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, assess the proposal, and describe our recommendations to the Legislature.

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Update on Community College Reserves

January 27, 2021 - In this post, we describe community college reserve policies and track local reserve levels over time. We focus on local reserve levels because they are a key indicator of the overall fiscal health of community colleges.

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Second Round of Higher Education Federal Relief Funds

January 20, 2021 - The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act provides the second round of federal relief funding for higher education. In this post, we recap the first round of federal relief funding for higher education, then describe the key elements of the second round of funding. We also compare funding allocations for higher education institutions in California under the first and second rounds of funding.

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How Has COVID-19 Affected Renters and Homeowners?

January 19, 2021 - In this brief we assess how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected renters and homeowners. We also provide an updated estimate of the total unpaid rental debt in California that has accumulated due to COVID-19.

Correction 1/19/21: Legend on Figure 3 corrected to match data.

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California Community Colleges—Managing Cash in a Time of State Payment Deferrals

December 18, 2020 - To help address the state’s large budget deficit as estimated in June 2020, the 2020-21 budget package deferred a substantial amount of General Fund payments to schools and the California Community Colleges (CCC). In this post, we (1) provide background on community college cash flow and cash management, (2) describe the community college deferrals included in the state’s 2020-21 budget package, (3) explain how the CCC Chancellor’s Office is implementing these deferrals, (4) discuss how community college districts are responding, and (5) present options for the Legislature to consider, particularly given the improved budget outlook.

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The 2021-22 Budget: CalWORKs Fiscal Outlook

December 8, 2020 - In this post, we describe our most recent forecast for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program costs and discuss recent caseload trends. With this post we intend to provide information but do not include any explicit recommendations to the Legislature. This post is part of our 2021-2022 Fiscal Outlook series of publications.