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January 10, 2019 - In the event of a large-scale disaster, state and local governments, individuals and households, and businesses all can face damage to their properties and other possessions. Many of these losses ultimately are borne by these entities or individuals, their insurance, or the parties deemed responsible for the disaster, if applicable. However, both the federal government and the State of California provide various types of financial and in-kind assistance following certain disasters to offset some of the costs associated with recovering from disasters. Notably, the type of federal and state assistance that is available can vary by disaster, with some assistance only available in the aftermath of larger state or federally declared disasters. In this post, we summarize some of the major types of recovery assistance that can be available.
December 21, 2018 - This post describes recent national developments pertinent to the reauthorization of California’s managed care organization (MCO) tax. The state’s prospects for receiving federal approval—which initially were uncertain—appear to be improved following the recent federal approval of a health insurer tax in Michigan that is structured similarly to California’s MCO tax.
December 21, 2018 - Chapter 135 of 2017 (AB 398, E. Garcia) requires our office to annually report on the economic impacts and benefits of California’s statutory greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals—statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. This report provides our assessment of the effects, of major policies in the transportation sector intended to help meet these goals, as well as identifies some key issues for the Legislature to consider as it makes future policy and budget decisions. In a companion report, Assessing California’s Climate Policies—An Overview, we describe the general types of economic effects of state climate policies, key challenges in measuring these effects, and broad issues for the Legislature to consider when designing and evaluating its climate policies.
December 21, 2018 - Chapter 135 of 2017 (AB 398, E. Garcia) requires our office to annually report on the economic impacts and benefits of California’s statutory greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals—statewide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. This report provides a conceptual overview of the potential economic effects of policies intended to help meet these goals—both positive and negative—as well as identifies some key issues for the Legislature to consider when designing and evaluating state climate policies. In a companion report, Assessing California’s Climate Policies—Transportation, we provide more detailed information and comments on the state’s major policies aimed at reducing emissions from the transportation sector.
December 20, 2018 - Recent legislation made several changes to the state’s system for intervening in fiscally distressed school districts. These changes could have significant implications for districts moving forward. In this report, we provide background on how the state historically has intervened in fiscally distressed districts, describe and assess the recent changes the state made, and offer associated recommendations.
December 14, 2018 - In this post, we (1) explain how the scheduled state minimum wage increases impact IHSS wages and state and county costs, (2) describe the recent temporary and permanent changes to the state and county cost-sharing structure for IHSS wage and benefit increases, and (3) explain how these changes could impact county wage decisions and costs for the state.
December 13, 2018 - Nearly ten years ago today, Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year projected a $42 billion deficit. This shortfall was stunning, but in fact, turned out to be optimistic. In the months that followed, the Governor released three more budget projections, each one addressing even larger shortfalls. California was called "ungovernable," "a wreck," and "a failed state."
Today, California's fiscal position is dramatically different. While the budget still faces challenges, the state has made undeniable progress: the Legislature has enacted budgets that consistently increased savings, addressed many of the state's outstanding debts, and most recently passed a budget with a higher level of reserves than the state has seen in decades. Few could have predicted this turnaround.
So how did the state achieve this feat? This visual guide to the Great Recession and California's recovery tells the story of the budget over the last ten years.
December 13, 2018 - In this report, we first provide information on what the Census is. Second, we discuss how the Census is conducted—including the steps the federal government has taken to date and what it plans to do over the next few years to conduct the 2020 Census. (We also describe state efforts to supplement these federal activities.) We then discuss the likelihood of an undercount in California in 2020. Finally, we discuss the implications of an undercount for California both in terms of representation in Congress and federal funding.
December 12, 2018 - The Supplemental Report of the 2018-19 Budget Act required our office to identify the pros and cons of Alternative Payment agencies using a paper versus electronic process to collect monthly child care attendance records. This report fulfills this requirement.
December 11, 2018 - The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) administers a sales tax exemption for equipment used for certain manufacturing activities. (Many people refer to this program as an exclusion rather than an exemption.) Under current law, this program will end on January 1, 2021. Public Resources Code 26011.8(g) requires our office to report on the effectiveness of the program—including its economic, fiscal, and environmental effects—by January 1, 2019. This report fulfills that statutory requirement.
December 6, 2018 - With a state as big, as populous, and as complex as California, quickly summarizing how its economy or state budget works is impossible. Instead, Cal Facts is a visual guide—using a variety of different charts—to the state's economy, revenues, and major program trends.
November 26, 2018 - Taxes on sugary drinks have become increasingly common in recent years. In June 2018, the Legislature passed a law (Chapter 61 of 2018 [AB 1838, Committee on Budget]) prohibiting local governments from levying such taxes (and other taxes on groceries) through 2030. The law stated the Legislature’s intent to regulate the imposition and collection of such taxes to the exclusion of local action. As such, the Legislature may face the following decisions: (1) Should the state levy an excise tax on sugary drinks? and (2) If so, how should the tax be designed? This report provides information and perspectives for the Legislature to consider as it weighs these choices.
November 15, 2018 - In this post, we provide a summary of how CalFire is spending Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund dollars provided in the 2017-18 budget package. We focus primarily on CalFire’s Forest Health Program, and identify issues for the Legislature to consider as it oversees and guides future expenditures of forest health funding.