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The 2016-17 Budget: Precision Medicine Research Funding

March 18, 2016 - Precision medicine is a developing approach in the health sector that takes into account an individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle for disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The 2016-17 Governor’s Budget proposes to make a one-time appropriation of $10 million from the state General Fund to OPR to fund precision medicine research. We find that the Governor’s proposal lacks key details and a clear justification. In the absence of this information, we recommend the Legislature reject the Governor’s proposal.

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The 2016-17 Budget: Local Government Mandates--Reasonable Reimbursement Methodology

March 17, 2016 - Through a complex, often convoluted, process that has engendered much discussion and disagreement over the years, the state must reimburse local governments for their activities to implement certain state mandates. State law requires the Commission on State Mandates (CSM) to determine whether new state laws, executive orders, or regulations affecting local governments create state-reimbursable mandates. Generally, local governments may submit claims for state mandate payment based on one of two methods: (1) claiming of actual costs or (2) a reasonable reimbursement methodology (RRM). A budget trailer bill proposal from the administration would change the requirements for developing an RRM. We recommend the Legislature reject this proposal and perhaps consider targeted alternatives.

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The 2016-17 Budget: Public Employment Relations Board (PERB)

March 1, 2016 - We are uncertain if the administration’s budget proposals will provide the Public Employment Relations Board the resources it needs to address the existing backlog in processing cases. We recommend that the Legislature (1) determine how fast cases should be addressed by the board and then (2) ask PERB and affected groups questions in order to understand what level of funding and staffing is necessary to process cases within the desired amount of time.

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The 2016-17 Budget: The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

March 1, 2016 - In this post, we provide recommendations on the following Governor’s Office of Emergency Services budget proposals for 2016-17: (1) Deferred Maintenance and (2) Emergency Operations and Critical Infrastructure Support.

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The 2016-17 Budget: California Public Utilities Commission

February 25, 2016 - The Governor’s budget proposes $1.8 billion for CPUC in 2016-17, a net increase of $260 million (17 percent) compared to estimated expenditures in the current year. This year-over-year increase is largely the result of increased costs for the California LifeLine program, which we discuss in this budget post.

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The 2016-17 Budget: Department Of Consumer Affairs

February 25, 2016 - In this post, we provide recommendations on the following Department of Consumer Affairs budget proposals for 2016-17: (1) Acupuncture Board—Curriculum Review and Licensing and (2) Department of Justice Staffing.

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The 2016-17 Budget: Child Welfare Services--New System

February 25, 2016 - In this post, we provide a brief description of the CWS-NS information technology project; discuss recent changes to the project’s implementation approach; describe the Governor’s 2016-17 budget proposal for expenditure authority and various staff changes to assist with planning and procurement activities and to prepare for the design, development, and implementation phase of the project; and recommend approval of the Governor’s budget proposal, with our recommended updates to a reporting requirement.

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The 2016-17 Budget: Department of General Services

February 22, 2016 - The Department of General Services (DGS) provides a variety of services to state departments, such as procurement, management of state-owned and leased real estate, management of the state’s vehicle fleet, printing, administrative hearings, legal services, development of building standards, and oversight over school construction. The department generally funds its operations through fees charged to client departments. The Governor’s budget proposes $1.1 billion from various funds for support of DGS in 2016-17. This is an increase of $19 million, or about 2 percent, from current-year estimated expenditures. In addition, we note that the Governor’s budget also includes a $1.5 billion state office building proposal. (For more information on this proposal, please see our report The 2016-17 Budget: The Governor’s State Office Building Proposal.)

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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: Conclusion

February 2, 2016 - This post is the eighth in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we offer some concluding thoughts.

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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: Recent Policy Change Increases District Rates

February 2, 2016 - This post is the seventh in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we describe how a recent CalSTRS policy change increases projected district rates under many scenarios.

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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: Funding Plan May Not Meet Principle of “Shared Responsibility”

February 2, 2016 - This post is the sixth in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we describe how the plan might fall short of meeting the principle of “shared responsibility,” a key goal of the Legislature in passing the plan. Specifically, we explain how the state may not incur higher costs under the funding plan.

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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: State’s Future Responsibility for CalSTRS Uncertain

February 2, 2016 - This post is the fifth in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we describe how the state’s share of CalSTRS’ unfunded liabilities will be more sensitive to investment gains and losses than the district share.

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A Review of the CalSTRS Funding Plan: Treatment of Teacher Contributions Also Increase District Unfunded Liabilities

February 2, 2016 - This post is the fourth in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. Our third post explained how theoretical asset gains have increased the school and community college district share of CalSTRS’ unfunded liabilities. In this post, we continue this discussion by describing how CalSTRS’ treatment of teacher contributions has also increased the district share.

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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.