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The 2019-20 Budget: Undoing California’s Outstanding Budgetary Deferrals

March 26, 2019 - When facing budget problems in the past, the state has “deferred” payments from one fiscal year into the next, providing significant one-time budgetary savings. While the state has already addressed many of its outstanding deferrals, there are still three major categories of deferrals remaining. These are related to: (1) state employee payroll, (2) pension payments, and (3) Medi-Cal payments. The Governor proposes using $1.7 billion to undo the payroll and pension deferrals. We find this would improve the state’s fiscal position and moderately improve the state’s budgetary practices, however, this approach has shortcomings relative to alternatives. This post recommends an alternative approach to the Governor’s proposal.

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Housing and Homelessness Funding Impacting Children

March 25, 2019 - These materials were prepared for an informational hearing about housing challenges and their impact on the well-being of children by the Senate Select Committee on the Social Determinants of Children’s Well-Being.

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The 2019-20 Budget: The Governor's Proposal for a New Office of Digital Innovation

March 22, 2019 - In this post, we describe the Governor’s 2019-20 budget proposal to create a new office within California’s Government Operations Agency—the Office of Digital Innovation. We then provide issues for legislative consideration, including key questions about the office’s implementation and legislative oversight of its activities.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Aligning the State’s IT Project Approval Process With the Annual Budget Process

March 14, 2019 - In this post, we describe how the California Department of Technology’s (CDT) information technology (IT) project approval process—known as the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL)—does not always align with the state’s annual budget process. We identify seven funding requests in the Governor’s 2019-20 proposed budget for IT project proposals that are currently in various stages of the PAL process. We then describe how these requests for project funding prior to the completion of the PAL planning process may inhibit the Legislature from fully realizing the anticipated benefits of the PAL process, discuss how some project-specific factors can cause misalignment of the budget cycle and PAL, and provide issues for legislative consideration.

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The 2019-20 Budget: The Governor’s Proposed Supplemental Pension Payment to CalPERS

March 4, 2019 - This post evaluates the Governor’s proposed supplemental pension payment to CalPERS and provides some alternative ways to structure the payment.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Proposition 56 Revenues: Reductions in Fixed Allocations

February 14, 2019 - In this post, we review the administration’s reductions to certain allocations of Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenue. In our view, the administration’s approach for 2019-20 is reasonable. However, the administration has not yet decided how these adjustments will be determined in 2020-21 and beyond. These future choices could have substantial fiscal effects, and some would be more logically consistent with the administration’s current approach than others.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Overview of the Governor’s Proposition 98 Budget Package

January 16, 2019 - The Governor presented his proposed state budget to the Legislature on January 10, 2019. In this post, we provide an overview and initial assessment of the largest piece of that budget—the Proposition 98 budget. The first section of the post focuses on major Proposition 98 spending proposals whereas the second section focuses on the administration’s estimates of the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee. For additional information about the Proposition 98 budget, please see our January 2019 EdBudget tables.

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How California Governments Respond to Disasters

January 10, 2019 - Government agencies are responsible for reacting quickly to disasters to help limit damage to people and their property. This includes assessing the disaster situation and bringing in the necessary resources to respond in a coordinated way. This post describes the state system used to facilitate a coordinated response to disasters. It also describes various types of disaster declarations that state and local governments make in order to receive financial assistance for response and recovery costs.

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Main Types of Disasters and Associated Trends

January 10, 2019 - In this post, we summarize the most common disasters affecting California—floods, fires, and earthquakes. We also provide some information on key disaster trends.

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Main Types of Disaster Recovery Assistance

January 10, 2019 - In the event of a large-scale disaster, state and local governments, individuals and households, and businesses all can face damage to their properties and other possessions. Many of these losses ultimately are borne by these entities or individuals, their insurance, or the parties deemed responsible for the disaster, if applicable. However, both the federal government and the State of California provide various types of financial and in-kind assistance following certain disasters to offset some of the costs associated with recovering from disasters. Notably, the type of federal and state assistance that is available can vary by disaster, with some assistance only available in the aftermath of larger state or federally declared disasters. In this post, we summarize some of the major types of recovery assistance that can be available.

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Federal Approval of a Reauthorized Managed Care Organization Tax Now Appears More Likely

December 21, 2018 - This post describes recent national developments pertinent to the reauthorization of California’s managed care organization (MCO) tax. The state’s prospects for receiving federal approval—which initially were uncertain—appear to be improved following the recent federal approval of a health insurer tax in Michigan that is structured similarly to California’s MCO tax.

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Recent Changes to State and County IHSS Wage and Benefit Costs

December 14, 2018 - In this post, we (1) explain how the scheduled state minimum wage increases impact IHSS wages and state and county costs, (2) describe the recent temporary and permanent changes to the state and county cost-sharing structure for IHSS wage and benefit increases, and (3) explain how these changes could impact county wage decisions and costs for the state.

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How CalFire is Spending Recent Forest Health Funds

November 15, 2018 - In this post, we provide a summary of how CalFire is spending Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund dollars provided in the 2017-18 budget package. We focus primarily on CalFire’s Forest Health Program, and identify issues for the Legislature to consider as it oversees and guides future expenditures of forest health funding.

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Evolution of the Balance of the Budget Stabilization Account

November 14, 2018 - This post discusses the various types of deposits the Legislature has made into the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) that now compose its balance. We also present our projections of the estimated balance in the BSA under our recently published report, The 2019-20 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook.

In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.

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Fiscal Outlook: In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

November 14, 2018 - In this web post we discuss our near- and long-term costs projections for the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program and significant cost drivers and savings.

In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.