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Lessons From Other States to Address California’s Redemption Center Closures

April 10, 2017 - Since January 1, 2016, over 300 “convenience zone” (CZ) recycling centers—those generally located within a half mile of supermarkets—have closed. CZ recycling centers are an important part of California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program (BCRP). They provide a convenient location for consumers to recycle beverage containers and have their deposit—the California Redemption Value, or “CRV”—repaid. This post examines the closures by reviewing programs in other states and identifying options to improve convenient recycling options in California.

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Department of Toxic Substances Control: Performance Improvement Initiatives Merit Oversight

April 4, 2017 - In light of concerns about the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s execution of its responsibilities in recent years, the Legislature has held numerous hearings to monitor the performance of the department’s programs. The Legislature has also approved additional funding and positions for the department to address deficiencies in some of these programs. In this web post, we discuss the department’s progress to date in addressing these deficiencies, as well as provide questions for legislators to ask the department in future budget and policy hearings to determine the degree to which the department is improving program performance.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Update on Per Capita Personal Income

March 30, 2017 - On March 28, 2017, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis released updated data on personal income. In this post, we describe the new data and the implications for school funding.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Update on K-12 Student Attendance

March 30, 2017 - In early March of 2017, the California Department of Education certified initial average daily attendance data for 2016-17. In this post, we describe how the state tracks attendance and discuss the implications for Proposition 98 and school funding.

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2017-18 Budget: Control Section 4.11—Position Transparency

March 24, 2017 - We recommend that the Legislature amend the proposed budget bill language for Control Section 4.11 to improve transparency and legislative oversight over the state’s workforce.

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A History of California’s Budget Reserves

March 24, 2017 - This post provides an overview and history of the state’s budget reserves. It also includes an interactive graphic comparing actual reserves to enacted reserves over time.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Local Update of Census Address Program Overview

March 23, 2017 - The Governor proposes $7 million in incentive grants for local governments to participate in the Census Bureau's Local Update Address Program in preparation for the 2020 Census. This post describes the upcoming U.S. Census and considerations for the Legislature in ensuring an accurate count.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Bus Driver Training Program

March 10, 2017 - Our office recently released a brief, The 2017-18 Budget: Governor’s Criminal Fine and Fee Proposals, which provides information about the various programs affected by the steady decline in criminal fine and fee revenue deposited into the State Penalty Fund since 2008-09. This post provides more detailed information about the Bus Driver Training Program, one of the affected programs.

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Residential Water Use Trends and Implications for Conservation Policy

March 8, 2017 - For the past two years, urban water agencies in California have been submitting monthly data on residential water use to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The monthly update covering December 2016 was recently published on the board’s website, providing a full year of data for 2016. This web post discusses trends in residential water use and what these data imply for policymakers in the coming year.

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The 2017-18 Budget: The Board of Equalization

March 7, 2017 - In this analysis, we discuss three aspects of the State Board of Equalization’s (BOE’s) budget: (1) resources redirected to board members; (2) the administration’s 2017-18 budget proposal for BOE’s major IT project; and (3) the administration’s 2017-18 budget proposals for BOE’s tobacco tax and licensing programs.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Funding Public Works Labor Enforcement

March 3, 2017 - The Governor’s budget proposes several actions related to public works labor enforcement, including steps to address a structural funding problem the Governor has identified. In this analysis, we discuss our findings and recommendations relative to this proposed actions.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Increased Staffing for Labor Standards Enforcement

March 3, 2017 - The Governor’s budget proposes $11 million in special funds and 82.5 positions, phased in over three years, for the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to pursue additional investigations of labor standards violations. In this analysis, we provide our assessment of the Governor’s proposal and raise several concerns that we believe should be addressed before any funding and staffing are approved.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Federal Receiver for Inmate Medical Services

March 3, 2017 - In this web post, we provide an overview of the Federal Receiver for Inmate Medical Services, who maintains direct control over inmate medical care provided in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) facilities, and the level of funding proposed for inmate medical services in the Governor’s 2017-18 budget. We also assess and make recommendations on four specific Receiver budget proposals: (1) an $8.9 million augmentation related to medication management, (2) a $3.1 million augmentation related suicide watch, (3) a $5.4 million augmentation related to health care appeals, and (4) a $2 million augmentation related to managing health care equipment.

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The 2017-18 Budget: Analysis of Special Education “Disconnect”

March 1, 2017 - Since 2013-14, the state has experienced a disconnect between the funding allocated for special education and the funding level specified by state law. In this web post, we explain the source of this disconnect and offer two options for rectifying it.

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The 2017-18 Budget: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

March 1, 2017 - In this web post, we provide an overview of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the level of funding proposed for the department in the Governor's 2017-18 budget. We also assess and make recommendations on various CDCR budget proposals, including a $12.6 million proposed augmentation related to changes in the adult inmate and parolee populations. In addition, we assess and provide recommendations on three proposals related to inmate mental health care: a $250 million shift of inpatient psychiatric programs from the Department of State Hospitals to CDCR, an $11.4 million proposal to convert 74 existing outpatient mental health beds into inpatient psychiatric program beds, and a $112 million proposal to construct 100 additional Mental Health Crisis Beds. Finally, we assess and provide recommendations on five other CDCR proposals: an $11.7 million proposal to install video surveillance cameras, the delayed activation of an infill facility, a proposal to reduce the department’s budget by $8.3 million to reflect housing unit conversions and the reallocation of health care access staff, a $299,000 proposal to modify a fence at a minimum support facility, and proposed budget trailer legislation related to California Prison Industry Authority employee retiree health benefits.