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February 27, 2020 - In this brief, we provide an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). We then (1) assess the Governor’s Cal Grant cost estimates, (2) analyze the Governor’s proposal to fund a student loan outreach initiative, and (3) analyze the Governor’s state operations proposals for CSAC.
February 26, 2020 - The Governor proposes budget trailer legislation to make various changes related to the Department of Business Oversight. In this report, we assess the Governor's proposals and make recommendations for the Legislature to consider.
February 25, 2020 - In this report we assess several of the Governor's 2020-21 budget proposals in the natural resources and environmental protection program areas. This includes reviews of the Governor's proposals related to the Department of Toxic Substances Control, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
February 24, 2020 - In this report, we assess the Governor’s overall Proposition 98 budget and his specific proposals for K-12 education. Of the $3.7 billion in new Proposition 98 funding for 2020-21, the budget dedicates $2 billion for one-time initiatives and $1.7 billion for ongoing augmentations. Nearly all of the ongoing funding is to cover an estimated 2.29 percent cost-of-living adjustment for various K-14 programs. Total K-12 funding per student would grow to $12,619 in 2020-21, an increase of $499 (4.1 percent) over the revised 2019-20 level. Most of the one-time proposals in the Governor’s budget seek to address longstanding issues in K-12 education. Many of the proposals, however, seem unlikely to have much long-term effect on these issues. We also are concerned that many proposals are missing important details regarding how the funds would be spent. We recommend the Legislature reject most of these proposals, freeing up more than $1 billion in Proposition 98 funding. We think the Legislature should consider using the freed-up funds to provide fiscal relief to districts. Although the Legislature has various options for providing fiscal relief, we think making additional payments toward districts’ unfunded pension liabilities would offer the greatest fiscal benefit. Paying down these liabilities would improve the funding status of the pension systems and likely reduce district costs over time.
Correction 2/26/20: Corrected reference to the cost of the Governor’s education workforce proposals.
February 24, 2020 - In this report, we discuss issues for the Legislature to consider as it decides whether to change the state’s approach to taxing e‑cigarettes. We find that a tax based on nicotine content has some advantages. We also suggest that the Legislature consider a wide range of possible tax rates. Once the Legislature has chosen a rate, we recommend indexing the rate to inflation and revisiting it frequently to assess whether further adjustments are warranted. If the Legislature chooses to enact a new tax on e‑cigarettes, we recommend that it take an approach to revenue allocation that prioritizes flexibility.
February 21, 2020 - While wildfires have always been a natural part of California’s ecosystems, recent increases in the severity of wildfires and the adverse impacts on communities have increased the focus on the state’s ability to effectively prevent, mitigate, and respond to wildfire risks. This report has two parts. First, we assess the state’s approach to addressing wildfire risks in light of the complex challenges that make an efficient and effective approach difficult. Second, we evaluate the Governor’s various wildfire‑related budget proposals in the absence of having a statewide strategic wildfire plan.
February 21, 2020 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s early education proposals, then analyze his three major early education proposals. Specifically, we analyze his proposals to (1) expand the number of full‑day preschool slots, (2) create a new department to administer child care programs, and (3) fund facilities for more preschool programs.
February 20, 2020 - This report provides an overview of the proposed and approved IT projects in the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget. We first provide relevant background information on the state’s IT project approval process, approaches to development and implementation of projects once approved, maintenance and operation of IT systems once completed, and requirements for state government entities to request resources for projects through the budget process. We then identify and summarize the budget requests to plan proposed projects and to develop and implement projects (whether proposed or approved).
February 20, 2020 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. Similar to last year, these proposals are wide ranging—including large base increases; targeted increases for apprenticeship programs and food pantries; one-time initiatives relating to extended education programs, work-based learning, faculty diversity, and animal shelters; and many facility projects.
February 20, 2020 - In this brief, we analyze the Governor’s proposals relating to UC medical education. After providing an overview of medical education, we first analyze the Governor’s proposals to expand enrollment and build a new academic building at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. We then analyze the Governor’s proposal to expand enrollment and services at the UCSF Fresno branch campus.
February 18, 2020 - The Governor’s 2020‑21 budget includes a total of $19.7 billion from all fund sources for the operation of judicial and criminal justice programs. This is a net increase of $341 million (2 percent) over the revised 2019‑20 level of spending. General Fund spending is proposed to be $16.2 billion in 2020‑21, which represents an increase of $213 million (1 percent) above the revised 2019‑20 level. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize some of our major recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.
February 14, 2020 - The Governor’s 2020-21 budget includes various cannabis-related proposals, including both budget trailer legislation and budget change proposals from multiple departments. In this report, we (1) provide some background on cannabis regulation and taxation in California; (2) describe the Governor’s proposals; and (3) provide recommendations on these proposals for legislative consideration.
February 14, 2020 - In this report, we provide high‑level background on the Medi‑Cal program and an overview of the major drivers of year‑over‑year spending changes in the Governor’s budget. We also discuss the administration’s recent submittal (late January 2020) of a modified managed care organization (MCO) tax proposal. We then provide analysis and recommendations on a series of key issues: (1) Recently proposed draft federal regulations referred to as the “Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation;” (2) proposals related to the Medi‑Cal pharmacy services benefit; (3) the Governor’s proposal to expand comprehensive Medi‑Cal coverage to otherwise eligible seniors regardless of immigration status; (4) proposed changes to rate‑setting for skilled nursing facilities; (5) issues related to county administration of eligibility and enrollment functions in Medi‑Cal; and (6) the Governor’s proposal to end dental managed care in the current two pilot counties and instead provide dental care as a fee‑for‑service benefit statewide. We conclude this report with a summary of our recommendations.
Corrected 2/20/20: Corrected to remove Alameda County from the list counties participating in the Coordinated Care Initiative.
February 13, 2020 - This report assesses the Governor’s major 2020-21 budget proposals related to climate change. The four proposals we evaluate are the Governor's (1) cap-and-trade expenditure plan ($965 million), (2) expanded climate adaptation research and technical assistance activities ($25 million), (3) new Climate Catalyst loan fund ($250 million), and (4) climate bond ($4.75 billion).