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February 17, 2021 - This post analyzes, and provides recommendations to the Legislature on, the 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposal for the Department of Health Care Services to continue the replacement of several Medi-Cal information technology systems and to plan the modernization of the remaining systems under a new effort called the Medi-Cal Enterprise System Modernization.
February 16, 2021 - The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposal is a set of reforms to expand, transform, and streamline Medi-Cal service delivery and financing. This post—the second in a series assessing different aspects of the Governor’s proposal—analyzes CalAIM financing issues, including both the Governor’s funding plan for CalAIM as well as CalAIM’s policy changes related to Medi-Cal financing.
February 16, 2021 - This post analyzes the major adjustments to the Medi-Cal budget in 2020-21 and 2021-22, with a focus on the technical adjustments such as the administration’s caseload estimates. We will further analyze the major discretionary Medi-Cal proposals in separate publications and communications to the Legislature.
February 12, 2021 - In this post, we provide background on school-based mental health services, describe the Governor’s proposals aimed at increasing such services, provide our assessments of the proposals, and offer associated recommendations.
February 12, 2021 - In his January budget, the Governor proposes to allocate $265 million to support the establishment of new, and the expansion of existing, community schools. In this post, we provide background on community schools and funding allocated in the current year to support expansion of existing community schools, describe the Governor’s proposal, assess the proposal, and describe our recommendations to the Legislature.
February 11, 2021 - In this analysis of the Governor’s 2021-22 budget proposal for child welfare programs, we: (1) provide program background; (2) outline the Governor’s proposed budget for child welfare services and foster care programs; and (3) provide key questions and issues for the Legislature to consider related to the administration’s proposals for continued pandemic response, implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act, and ongoing implementation of Continuum of Care Reform.
February 11, 2021 - This post analyzes the Governor’s proposal to transition state administration of child care programs. We further provide options the Legislature could consider to support child care programs during the pandemic.
Correction (2/18/2021): A previous version of this post stated DSS released a draft of the transition plan. This version is corrected to state DSS released a transition plan guide.
February 10, 2021 - The Governor’s budget for 2021-22 proposes to consolidate state workforce programs under a new Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages. The new department would include portions of the Employment Development Department, the California Workforce Development Board, and the Department of Industrial Relations. In our view, the functions of the new department appear similar to the functions of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, raising questions about why a new department is needed to integrate these programs. Furthermore, reorganizing a portion of the Employment Development Department during the pandemic poses potentially serious risks to the state's efforts to eliminate the growing backlog of unemployment insurance claims that have not been distributed to workers.
February 10, 2021 - The 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposes $555 million General Fund to make the first interest payment on federal loans the state received to pay unemployment insurance (UI) benefits after the UI fund became insolvent during the pandemic. Our office’s estimate of the upcoming interest payment is much lower—about $260 million. This lower estimate reflects (1) more plausible, up-to-date economic projections and (2) recent federal action to waive a portion of accrued interest for 2021. We recommend the Legislature adopt this lower placeholder amount. In addition, we recommend the Legislature take advantage of a provision of federal law that allows states to defer 75 percent of their UI loan interest payments during economic downturns. If the state chooses to partially defer its interest payment, we estimate the 2021-22 UI loan interest payment would total roughly $65 million.
February 9, 2021 - The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposal is a set of reforms to expand, transform, and streamline Medi-Cal service delivery and financing. This post—the first in a series assessing different aspects of the Governor’s proposal—provides a brief overview of CalAIM, summarizes key changes from last year’s withdrawn proposal, and analyzes overarching issues related to CalAIM.
February 8, 2021 - This post discusses 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposals for the California Department of Technology to use General Fund to pay the costs of some existing information security programs and services, and to create new programs and services that are intended to improve the delivery of critical state services using information technology (IT) systems and the stability of the state’s legacy IT infrastructure.
February 4, 2021 - This post provides background on special education preschool and school Medi-Cal billing, describes the Governor's proposals related to these topics, details our assessments of the proposals, and offers associated recommendations for the Legislature to consider.
February 4, 2021 - The intent of Chapter 469 of 2015 (SB 29, Beall) was to improve peace officers’ abilities to identify and effectively respond to individuals with mental health, intellectual disability, or substance use disorders. The Commission on State Mandates has found that requiring field training officers (FTOs) to complete at least eight hours of training on this topic constitutes a reimbursable mandate. Given the state’s interest in promoting trust in law enforcement and in minimizing unnecessary harm to members of the public, we recommend funding this mandate to ensure FTOs receive at least this amount of training.
February 3, 2021 - In this post, we provide important background on California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), updates on how caseload has been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and analyze the Governor’s proposed CalWORKs budget. In short, caseload has declined precipitously in the most recent data, reaching a new all-time low in November 2020 (the most recent month for which there are data). This runs contrary to both the Governor’s budget (which assumes a fairly rapid rate of caseload growth from 2020 through 2022) and the historic relationship between caseload and economic data (which suggests caseload should increase following increased unemployment). In line with other efforts the administration is proposing to support low-income individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, we suggest the Legislature work with the administration to understand the factors leading to the lower than expected caseload and explore options for ensuring CalWORKs assistance reaches eligible families.