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February 14, 2020 - The Governor’s 2020-21 budget includes various cannabis-related proposals, including both budget trailer legislation and budget change proposals from multiple departments. In this report, we (1) provide some background on cannabis regulation and taxation in California; (2) describe the Governor’s proposals; and (3) provide recommendations on these proposals for legislative consideration.
February 14, 2020 - In this report, we provide high‑level background on the Medi‑Cal program and an overview of the major drivers of year‑over‑year spending changes in the Governor’s budget. We also discuss the administration’s recent submittal (late January 2020) of a modified managed care organization (MCO) tax proposal. We then provide analysis and recommendations on a series of key issues: (1) Recently proposed draft federal regulations referred to as the “Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation;” (2) proposals related to the Medi‑Cal pharmacy services benefit; (3) the Governor’s proposal to expand comprehensive Medi‑Cal coverage to otherwise eligible seniors regardless of immigration status; (4) proposed changes to rate‑setting for skilled nursing facilities; (5) issues related to county administration of eligibility and enrollment functions in Medi‑Cal; and (6) the Governor’s proposal to end dental managed care in the current two pilot counties and instead provide dental care as a fee‑for‑service benefit statewide. We conclude this report with a summary of our recommendations.
Corrected 2/20/20: Corrected to remove Alameda County from the list counties participating in the Coordinated Care Initiative.
February 13, 2020 - This report assesses the Governor’s major 2020-21 budget proposals related to climate change. The four proposals we evaluate are the Governor's (1) cap-and-trade expenditure plan ($965 million), (2) expanded climate adaptation research and technical assistance activities ($25 million), (3) new Climate Catalyst loan fund ($250 million), and (4) climate bond ($4.75 billion).
February 12, 2020 - Various state departments are involved in seismic safety. In particular, the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission (SSC) is an independent entity under the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing (BCSH) Agency. The Governor proposes budget trailer legislation that would make various changes related to the SSC, including reorganizing it into a unit within OES and reducing the number of commissioners from 20 to 15. We find that the Governor’s proposal presents important trade‑offs for the Legislature to consider.
February 12, 2020 - In this analysis, we assess the Governor’s 2020‑21 budget proposals for the Department of General Services (DGS). Specifically, we review and make recommendations regarding the Governor’s proposals for (1) additional staff for Contracted Fiscal Services (CFS) workload, including the establishment of a new strike team to assist departments performing accounting activities with the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal); (2) renovating the Resources, Bateson, and Unruh buildings, and (3) funding elevator and fire system‑related deferred maintenance projects.
February 11, 2020 - The Governor’s budget proposes $2.3 billion for the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) in 2020‑21—an increase of $232 million (11 percent) from the revised 2019‑20 level. In this report, we assess three specific DSH proposals and offer recommendations for legislative consideration.
February 11, 2020 - In this report we provide the Legislature context for the state’s homelessness crisis, provide an update on major recent state efforts to address homelessness, assess the Governor’s 2020‑21 homelessness plan, propose a framework to help the Legislature develop its own plan and funding allocations, and offer an alternative to the Governor’s 2020‑21 budget proposal.
February 10, 2020 - California has made significant progress in recent years to make its budget more resilient. Yet the process of achieving resilience can never be considered finished. This report lays out a framework for evaluating the budget’s structure using two key tools: reserves and operating surpluses. Using this framework, we evaluate the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget structure. We find that building more reserves or preserving a larger operating surplus would be prudent.
February 7, 2020 - The Arts Council conducts a range of activities in order to support arts in California. In carrying out this mandate, the Arts Council focuses its efforts on the development of various grant programs to support artists and organizations. In addition, the state budget has recently included funds for the Arts Council to distribute to specific museums and other cultural institutions. The Governor’s budget proposes $49 million, mostly from the General Fund, for support of the Arts Council in 2020‑21. As we discuss in this brief, the Governor’s budget proposes $10.5 million from the General Fund on a one‑time basis to expand and extend two existing Arts Council pilot programs—one focused on state‑designated cultural districts and one focused on disaster preparedness. In order to facilitate the Legislature’s evaluation of these extended pilots when they are complete, we recommend that the Legislature (1) establish clear goals for the pilots and (2) direct the Arts Council to develop and evaluate measureable outcomes related to the goals prior to requesting additional funding for these programs.
February 7, 2020 - The following report assesses the Governor’s proposed 2020‑21 budget for the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), which currently serves about 350,000 individuals with qualifying developmental disabilities in California. We first provide an overview of the budget proposal, including caseload projections and changes in year‑over‑year spending. We then consider four key new policy proposals. First, and most significantly, we consider the Governor’s proposal for a performance‑incentive program, which appears to represent a new direction for the DDS system. Second, we assess the Governor’s proposal to provide supplemental rate increases in additional service categories in 2020‑21. Third, we review a proposal to reduce the caseloads of service coordinators who work with children ages 3, 4, and 5. Finally, we examine the Governor’s proposed additions to DDS’ crisis and safety net services.
February 7, 2020 - As part of his budget plan for 2020‑21, the Governor proposes six government reorganizations across several policy areas. In many cases, the Governor proposes consolidating agencies or shifting responsibilities from existing agencies to newly established entities. The proposals would affect a broad array of state departments, offices, and commissions that perform a wide range of functions. In reviewing the Governor’s reorganization proposals, there are many issues for the Legislature to consider in determining whether to approve or reject each proposal. In this brief, we outline a broad framework to consider these issues. Specifically, we recommend that the Legislature consider key questions when evaluating the proposals.
February 4, 2020 - In this brief, we find that the major reasons why CDCR’s costs did not decline in line with the substantial decrease in the populations are: (1) costly operational changes to comply with various federal court orders, (2) increased employee compensation costs, and (3) the payment of costs that were deferred during the state’s fiscal crisis. However, we note that had the inmate population not declined over this period, CDCR spending would have increased by billions of dollars more than it actually did.
January 31, 2020 - In response to concerns over K‑12 student achievement gaps, the Legislature tasked our office with convening a work group on the topic and submitting a report. The required report needed to: (1) examine data on K‑12 student achievement gaps, (2) identify funding provided for disadvantaged and low‑performing students, (3) assess existing state efforts to serve these students, and (4) develop options for better supporting these students. This report responds to these requirements.
January 24, 2020 - State law authorizes the California Community Colleges (CCC) to award associate degrees, generally limiting the awarding of more advanced degrees to the state’s universities. As an exception to this rule, Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorized CCC to offer bachelor’s degrees on a pilot basis at up to 15 community colleges. Chapter 747 directed our office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot by July 1, 2018 and a final evaluation by July 1, 2022. This report reflects our final evaluation.