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Budget and Policy Post


The 2018-19 Budget: Department of General Services

February 20, 2018 - This analysis includes reviews of the following 2018‑19 budget proposals for DGS: (1) the construction of three state office buildings in the Sacramento area—Richards Boulevard, Bateson, and Unruh projects; and (2) Zero-Emission Vehicles.


The 2018-19 Budget: County Assessor Funding

February 15, 2018 - The Governor proposes to create a three-year grant program to distribute $5 million per year to select county assessors to cover the majority of the cost of new staff and information technology upgrades. In general, there are good reasons for the state to provide funding to county assessors. We, however, suggest the Legislature consider an alternative grant program. Specifically, we suggest allocating the funding to county assessors to cover a certain portion of one-time costs for information technology upgrades.


The 2018-19 Budget: California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA)

February 15, 2018 - In this analysis, we recommend one modification to the Governor's proposed 2018-19 budget for the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Authority: modify the one-time $8.2 million appropriation in 2018-19 by instead providing specific reimbursement authority over a three-year period, plus budget bill language giving the Department of Finance authority to increase spending authority with 30-day notification to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.


The 2018-19 Budget: California Public Utilities Commission

February 14, 2018 - In this analysis, we recommend one modification to the Governor's proposed 2018-19 budget for the California Public Utilities Commission: convert $366,000 for two positions to implement regulations related to electric and gas service disconnections from permanent to six-year limited-term.


The 2018-19 Budget: Administration of the 2017 Housing Package

February 8, 2018 - This post reviews the Governor’s proposal to provide resources to the California Department of Housing and Community Development to administer the 2017 legislative housing package. Overall, we find the request to be reasonable. We suggest the Legislature consider a few opportunities to give the administration additional direction on how the housing package should be implemented.


The 2018-19 Budget: Department of Consumer Affairs

February 6, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes to reduce 11 positions and $1.3 million annually (Real Estate Fund) for the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) beginning in 2018‑19 to reflect the transfer of the Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) out of DCA. We recommend the Legislature require that DCA report at spring budget hearings on the reasons for the difference between the charges that have been paid by CalBRE for DCA services ($5.7 million in 2017‑18) and the much smaller proposed reduction to DCA’s budget. We further recommend that the Legislature require DCA to begin tracking and reporting information on the use of DCA services by boards and bureaus to better assess whether there are widespread differences between the charges paid by entities and the services they are receiving.


The 2018-19 Budget: California Military Department

February 6, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes $3.6 million in one-time General Fund in 2018‑19 and $3.3 million in ongoing General Fund to provide California Military Department (CMD) support to two public charter schools, the California Military Institute (CMI) and Porterville Military Institute (PMI). We recommend rejecting the proposed General Fund appropriation, but approving position and associated reimbursement authority for CMD. This should enable CMD to provide support to CMI and PMI if these schools choose to allocate some of their Proposition 98 funds to supplement their staffing with CMD personnel.


The 2018-19 Budget: Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

February 1, 2018 - The Governor proposes $207,000 from the Alcohol Beverage Control Fund in 2018-19, rising to $265,000 in 2022-23 and annually thereafter to fund additional rental costs associated with ABC occupying privately owned leased space rather than its current space in the state-owned Santa Ana State Building. We recommend rejecting this proposal because it is not needed given that the Legislature has decided it does not want to proceed with the administration’s plan to move ABC and other departments into the proposed privately owned leased space.


The 2018-19 Budget: California Achieving a Better Life Experience Board

January 31, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes $900,000 in 2018-19 from a General Fund loan to support the continued implementation of CalABLE. While the proposal appears reasonable and we recommend its approval, we also recommend that the Legislature require CalABLE to provide a report that includes an evaluation of possible alternatives for reaching long-term financial self-sufficiency.


The 2018-19 Budget: State Treasurer’s Office

January 31, 2018 - The Governor proposes $450,000 in General Fund in 2018-19 and $400,000 annually thereafter to fund costs associated with providing IT support to State Treasurer's Office (STO) and the various boards, commissions, and authorities (BCA). We recommend that the Legislature approve the amount of the requested budget augmentation, but fund it from the various funds that support the STO and the BCAs rather than solely from the General Fund.


K-12 Education in Context

January 26, 2018 - In this post, we answer many questions legislators and others commonly ask about K-12 education in California. We begin by providing information on the main components of California’s public school system. We then review the state’s K-12 accountability system. Lastly, we explain the basics of school finance in California.


Recent Congressional Action on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

January 23, 2018 - Recent Congressional action appropriates funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through federal fiscal year 2022-23. The federal cost share authorized by Congress for the program is higher than what was assumed in the Governor’s budget. These actions reduce estimated General Fund Medi-Cal costs by about $300 million in 2017-18 and about $600 million in 2018-19. As a result, we anticipate the May Revision will reflect $900 million in lower General Fund expenditures, and an equal amount of resources available for any purpose.

Updated 2/9/18: On Friday, February 9, 2018, Congress appropriated additional funding for CHIP through FFY 2026-27 at states' traditional cost share which, in California, is 35 percent. No changes were made to the previous reauthorization of CHIP funding through FFY 2022-23, discussed in this post.

Updated 2/9/18: Figure 1 updated to include Governor's funding assumptions through 2021‑22.


Recent Report Compares California Inmate Health Care Costs to Rest of Nation

January 18, 2018 - In October 2017, the Pew Charitable Trusts released a report comparing how much each state spends on inmate health care, including medical, mental health, and dental care. Data from this report showed that California had the highest per inmate health care costs among the 49 states that reported data. In this post, we present various findings from this report and reasons for California’s relatively high per inmate health care costs.


The 2018-19 Budget: Overview of the Governor’s Proposition 98 Budget Package

January 18, 2018 - The Governor presented his budget package to the Legislature on January 10, 2018. This web post provides an overview and assessment of the largest component of that package—the Proposition 98 budget.


Long-term Capacity for Debt Payments Under Proposition 2

December 21, 2017 - Our recent Fiscal Outlook publication considers potential future requirements under Proposition 2 (2014)—including required rainy day fund deposits and payments toward certain state debts. Some have asked whether Proposition 2 debt funding payments can be used to reduce liabilities of teacher and other public employees' pension plans. As we discuss in this post, there may be little ongoing capacity to make additional commitments from Proposition 2 debt funding payments through the mid-2020s.