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The 2021-22 Budget: Multiyear Budget Outlook

May 23, 2021 - This report presents our office’s independent assessment of the condition of the state General Fund budget through 2024-25 assuming the economy continues to grow. While the state faces a historic surplus, a spending level beyond what is proposed by the Governor would require the Legislature to identify proposals to reject. Moreover, our analysis finds that the level of ongoing spending proposed by the Governor is only supportable with a revenue forecast that is more optimistic than the administration’s current estimates.

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The 2021-22 Budget: LAO Preliminary Comments on the May Revision Medi-Cal Budget

May 21, 2021 - In this post, we provide our preliminary comments on the Governor’s 2021‑22 May Revision proposal for Medi‑Cal. We first provide an overview of the proposal, noting the major changes made relative to the Governor’s January budget, as well as changes made to estimated 2020‑21 spending relative to the January estimates. We then describe, and provide our comments on, the Governor’s proposal to augment the January proposal for the California Advancing and Innovating Medi‑Cal (CalAIM) package. We follow with descriptions of, and comments on, the Governor’s modified telehealth policy proposal, the proposal to extend full‑scope Medi‑Cal coverage to older undocumented immigrants, and the proposal to use American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide financial relief for designated public hospitals.

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The 2021-22 May Revision: Golden State Stimulus 2

May 18, 2021 - This post provides an overview of state and federal stimulus payments to date, describes the Governor's May Revision proposal for a second round of Golden State Stimulus payments, and presents two alternatives that go further toward filling in the gaps in federal pandemic relief.

Handout

The 2021-22 May Revision—Overview and Analysis of Workforce Development Proposals

May 18, 2021 - This handout lists the Governor's workforce proposals, provides a high-level assessment of those proposals, and offers guidance were the Legislature to want to increase spending in this area.

Handout

The 2021-22 Budget: Overview of May Revision K-12 Education Proposals

May 18, 2021 - This handout analyzes the overall architecture of the Governor's May Revision plan for school funding, including major spending proposals and underlying estimates of the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Initial Comments on the Governor’s May Revision

May 17, 2021 - On May 14, 2021, Governor Newsom presented a revised state budget proposal to the Legislature. (This annual proposed revised budget is called the “May Revision.”) In this post, we provide a summary of the Governor’s revised budget, focusing on the overall condition and structure of the state General Fund—the budget’s main operating account. In the coming days, we will analyze the plan in more detail and provide additional comments in hearing testimony and online.

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A Review of Child Care and Preschool Program Flexibilities in Certain Counties

May 13, 2021 - In this post we provide background on child care and preschool program flexibilities that have been granted to certain counties. We then assess these flexibilities and provide issues for the Legislature to consider in deciding whether to maintain flexibilities.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Analysis of the Governor’s Medi-Cal Telehealth Proposal

May 13, 2021 - This budget series post provides an overview of the Governor’s January budget proposal for an ongoing, post-pandemic Medi-Cal telehealth policy; an assessment of the Governor’s proposal; and issues for legislative consideration.

Report

What Can We Learn From How the State Responded to the Last Major Drought?

May 13, 2021 - For the second consecutive year, the state is experiencing extremely low rates of precipitation. As we prepare for what could be an extended period of dry conditions, it is helpful to review how the state responded to the last major drought. Such information can inform—and thereby potentially improve—the state’s current and ongoing response to developing conditions. In this report, we summarize the major activities, spending, and policy actions undertaken by the state to respond to the severe drought that occurred from 2012 through 2016. We also describe current conditions, and highlight some key lessons the Legislature can learn from previous efforts to help guide its response to the emerging drought.

Hearing Handout

Overview of Criminal Fine and Fee System

May 13, 2021 - Presented to: Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on Corrections, Public Safety, Judiciary, Labor and Transportation Hon. María Elena Durazo, Chair

Hearing Handout

Overview of State Funding and Audit of CDAA

May 13, 2021 - Senate Budget Subcommittee No 5. on Corrections, Public Safety, Judiciary, Labor and Transportation

Report

An Initial Look at Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Local Government Fiscal Condition

May 12, 2021 - In this analysis we examine what is known about the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on local governments’ fiscal condition.

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Impact of COVID-19 on Health Care Access

May 7, 2021 - This post describes how coronavirus disease 2019 has affected access to health care in California through the earliest months of 2021. Contrary to expectations in light of the high level of pandemic-induced job losses, we find that health care coverage has either remained steady or potentially increased during the pandemic. We explore reasons why health care coverage trends have defied expectations. However, health care employment and utilization both declined significantly, particularly in the early months of the pandemic. Although access to care is trending toward pre-pandemic levels, continued monitoring of these trends is warranted. We provide several policy options that the Legislature could consider for sustaining and improving access to care, such as funding or making policy changes to address a deficit in children’s preventive services that has arisen among Medi-Cal-enrolled children during the pandemic.

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COVID-19: American Rescue Plan’s Major Health-Related Funding Provisions

May 6, 2021 - On March 11, 2021, the President signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP Act)—a $1.9 trillion coronavirus disease 2019 relief package. This post highlights the health-related provisions of the ARP Act that provide significant funding directly to state/local health care and public health agencies, rural hospitals, home- and community-based services programs, subsidized individual market health coverage programs, and public behavioral health services. Where possible, based on currently available information, we provide an estimate of the funding allocations to California governments and other entities in the state. While this post reflects our best understanding of the high-level content and implications of this legislation as of late April, we will update the post as new information and clarifications become available.

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Estimated Cost of Expanding Full-Scope Medi-Cal Coverage to All Otherwise-Eligible Californians Regardless of Immigration Status

May 5, 2021 - This budget and policy post responds to legislative requests for our office to estimate the costs of expanding comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage to all otherwise eligible Californians regardless of their immigration status. We estimate that nearly one million undocumented immigrants would gain full coverage under this expansion. Assuming a January 1, 2022 implementation, we estimate that the additional cost of expansion would be $790 million General Fund ($870 million total funds) in 2021-22. On an ongoing basis, we estimate the additional cost of the expansion would be $2.1 billion General Fund (nearly $2.4 billion total funds). Both our caseload and cost estimates are subject to significant uncertainty and rest on a number of key assumptions. Moreover, our ongoing estimates would be expected to change over time with medical inflation and changes in caseload and utilization.