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February 5, 2019 - This report considers the overall structure of the Governor’s budget to evaluate how well it prepares the state to address a future budget problem. We begin with background to explain the state budget structure, budget problems, and options for addressing budget problems. We also provide background on the state’s existing reserves and debts and liabilities. We then present some key considerations as the Legislature considers its overall budget structure. Finally, we present and assess each of the Governor’s major budget reserve and debt and liability proposals and offer some alternatives for legislative consideration.
2/5/19: Corrected total of state spending deferrals in Figure 5.
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.
January 14, 2019 - This report presents our office’s initial assessment of the Governor’s Budget. The budget’s position continues to be positive. With $20.6 billion in discretionary resources available, the Governor’s budget proposal reflects a budget situation that is even better than the one our office estimated in the November Fiscal Outlook. The Governor’s Budget allocates nearly half of these discretionary resources to repaying state liabilities. Then, the Governor allocates $5.1 billion to one-time programmatic spending, $3 billion to reserves, and $2.7 billion to ongoing spending. Although the Governor’s allocation to discretionary reserves represents a smaller share of resources than recent budgets, the Governor’s decision to use a significant share of resources to pay down state debts is prudent. The Governor’s ongoing spending proposal is roughly in line with our November estimate of the ongoing capacity of the budget under an economic growth scenario. This was just one scenario, however. Recent financial market volatility indicates revenues could be somewhat lower than either we or the administration estimated.
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.
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.
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.
December 21, 2018 - Chapter 135 of 2017 (AB 398, E. Garcia) requires our office to annually report on the economic impacts and benefits of California’s statutory greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals—statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. This report provides our assessment of the effects, of major policies in the transportation sector intended to help meet these goals, as well as identifies some key issues for the Legislature to consider as it makes future policy and budget decisions. In a companion report, Assessing California’s Climate Policies—An Overview, we describe the general types of economic effects of state climate policies, key challenges in measuring these effects, and broad issues for the Legislature to consider when designing and evaluating its climate policies.
December 21, 2018 - Chapter 135 of 2017 (AB 398, E. Garcia) requires our office to annually report on the economic impacts and benefits of California’s statutory greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals—statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. This report provides a conceptual overview of the potential economic effects of policies intended to help meet these goals—both positive and negative—as well as identifies some key issues for the Legislature to consider when designing and evaluating state climate policies. In a companion report, Assessing California’s Climate Policies—Transportation, we provide more detailed information and comments on the state’s major policies aimed at reducing emissions from the transportation sector.
December 20, 2018 - Recent legislation made several changes to the state’s system for intervening in fiscally distressed school districts. These changes could have significant implications for districts moving forward. In this report, we provide background on how the state historically has intervened in fiscally distressed districts, describe and assess the recent changes the state made, and offer associated recommendations.
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.
December 13, 2018 - Nearly ten years ago today, Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year projected a $42 billion deficit. This shortfall was stunning, but in fact, turned out to be optimistic. In the months that followed, the Governor released three more budget projections, each one addressing even larger shortfalls. California was called "ungovernable," "a wreck," and "a failed state."
Today, California's fiscal position is dramatically different. While the budget still faces challenges, the state has made undeniable progress: the Legislature has enacted budgets that consistently increased savings, addressed many of the state's outstanding debts, and most recently passed a budget with a higher level of reserves than the state has seen in decades. Few could have predicted this turnaround.
So how did the state achieve this feat? This visual guide to the Great Recession and California's recovery tells the story of the budget over the last ten years.