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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: Theoretical Investment Gains Have Shifted Unfunded Liabilities to Districts

February 2, 2016 - This post is the third in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we describe how the abstract calculation upon which the funding plan is based has increased the district share of CalSTRS’ unfunded liabilities while decreasing the state share.

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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: CalSTRS Funding Plan Relies on Abstract Calculation

February 2, 2016 - This post is the second of a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we critique the complex calculation central to the funding plan.

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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: Background

February 2, 2016 - This post is the first of a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we provide key background information on pensions and CalSTRS.

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Post Election Manual Tally Mandate

January 13, 2016 - State law tasks the Commission on State Mandates with determining whether new state laws or regulations affecting local governments create state-reimbursable mandates. Typically, the process for determining whether a law or regulation is a state-reimbursable mandate takes several years. State law further requires our office to analyze any new mandates identified by the commission as a part of our annual analysis of the state budget. In particular, state law directs our office to report on the annual state costs for new mandates and make recommendations to the Legislature as to whether the new mandates should be repealed, funded, suspended, or modified. In this budget post, we discuss the Post Election Manual Tally mandate, which is the only newly identified state mandate since the 2015-16 Budget Act.

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Crude Oil by Rail—Federal Update

December 17, 2015 -

On December 4th, President Obama signed into law a long-awaited federal transportation funding reauthorization bill—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—which provided $305 billion over five years for the nation’s transportation systems. The purpose of this report is to inform California lawmakers about additional provisions of the bill designed to address safety concerns around the transportation of crude oil by rail.

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Fiscal Outlook Supplement on Proposition 2: True Up Calculations

December 3, 2015 - On November 18th, we released the 21st annual edition of our Fiscal Outlook, which projects California’s state budget condition through 2019-20 under a few different economic scenarios. This note provides the calculations and assumptions underlying the report’s estimates on Proposition 2 (2014), which changed the state’s budgeting practices concerning reserves and debt payments. Specifically, this note details the calculations we used to estimate the first 2015-16 “true up” deposit into the state’s rainy day fund.

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Fiscal Outlook Supplement on Proposition 2: Overview

December 2, 2015 - On November 18th, we released the 21st annual edition of our Fiscal Outlook, which projects California’s state budget condition through 2019-20 under a few different economic scenarios. This note provides the calculations and assumptions underlying the report’s estimates on Proposition 2 (2014), which changed the state’s budgeting practices concerning reserves and debt payments. Specifically, this note provides a high-level overview of our estimates of Proposition 2’s debt and reserve requirements in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

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Fiscal Outlook Addendum: CalPERS

November 18, 2015 - Our Fiscal Outlook publication today discusses various near-term budget risks for the state related to pensions and retiree health. (See pages 43-45 of the pdf version of the report.) This note is an addendum to the Fiscal Outlook to reflect some recent developments concerning the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).

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Section 1115 Waiver Renewal: Key Medi-Cal Financing Issues Remain Outstanding

October 13, 2015 - Earlier this year, California submitted a proposal to renew its Section 1115 waiver, which is due to expire at the end of October. The state is currently negotiating with the federal government over the terms and conditions of this waiver renewal. In this post, we examine key issues and concerns related to the availability of federal funding for California’s proposal. The post provides a primer on how Section 1115 waivers are generally financed, an overview of California’s proposal, and a discussion of the challenges the proposal faces within that financing structure.

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Upcoming Changes in Medi-Cal Create Fiscal and Policy Uncertainty

October 9, 2015 - This is the first in a series of policy posts on upcoming changes in Medi-Cal and the fiscal and policy uncertainty the changes create. In this post, we briefly highlight four upcoming major changes: (1) the renewal of the state’s Section 1115 waiver, (2) proposed modifications to the federal government’s regulations for Medicaid managed care plans, (3) the phase-in of state’s share of cost for the Affordable Care Act’s optional expansion population, and (4) the need to restructure the managed care organization tax to meet federal requirements. In the coming weeks and months, we will provide more detail and updates on these changes and their potential implications for the Medi-Cal program and the state’s budget in future policy posts similar to this one and in budget analyses.

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Framework For Cap-And-Trade Investment Plan Needs Further Development

September 22, 2015 - We discuss (1) the purpose of the administration's triennial cap-and-trade Investment Plan, (2) limitations of the administration's recently released Investment Plan concept paper, and (3) several key questions we believe the administration should consider as it further develops the Investment Plan that could result in better information about the potential benefits, tradeoffs, and risks associated with different funding choices.

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The MCO Tax: A Flat Versus Tiered Structure

July 20, 2015 - We compare two approaches to a restructured managed care organization (MCO) tax—the Governor’s tiered proposal versus a purely flat enrollment-based tax—in terms of their stability as a revenue source and overall financial burden placed on MCOs.

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Funding for Major Internet-Related Programs Since 2000

February 17, 2015 - Summarizes major state and federal funding for Internet-related programs.

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Snapshot of Internet Usage in Schools

January 13, 2015 - Provides information about schools’ Internet speeds, service providers, and the number of devices per student.

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An Overview of Internet in Schools

January 7, 2015 - Describes key aspects of schools’ Internet connections, including physical infrastructure, connection speeds, Internet service providers, devices used to display Internet content, and networking equipment.