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The 2020-21 Budget: Governor’s Computer Science Proposals

March 10, 2020 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposals to increase the capacity of school districts to teach computer science. We first provide background on computer science in California schools, then describe the Governor’s proposals, assess the proposals, and offer associated recommendations.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Proposition 2 Debt Payment Proposals

March 10, 2020 - Over the next decade, the state will be required to allocate an additional $12 billion to $21 billion to accelerate the pay down of state retirement liabilities under the provisions of Proposition 2 (2014). This represents a key and unique opportunity for the state. The Governor offers one strategy to prioritize these funds over the next few years. Notably, the Governor focuses on the state’s share of the unfunded liability for teachers’ pensions. While we agree this focus makes sense, the amounts the Governor proposes dedicating to this purpose are not connected to the specific actuarial needs of the teachers’ pension system. In this report, we present a method the Legislature could use to tie these payments to the system’s actual needs, which would better target the funding.

Report

Excess ERAF: A Review of the Calculations Affecting School Funding

March 6, 2020 - This report focuses on a state law enacted in the 1990s that shifts some of the property tax revenue in certain counties from schools and community colleges to other local agencies. For historical reasons, the shifted revenue is known as “excess ERAF.” (The acronym refers to the local accounts—known as Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds—that facilitate the shift.) We recently found that some counties are calculating excess ERAF in ways that seem contrary to state law and shift too much property tax revenue from schools to other agencies. We have three specific concerns related to the calculation of excess ERAF that together affect about $350 million in annual property tax revenue. Earlier this year, the Newsom administration began to address one of these concerns. In this report, we recommend the Legislature direct the administration to enforce state law on our other two concerns. We also recommend improving oversight to prevent similar issues from arising in the future.

Handout

Overview of Proposition 98 Budget Proposals

March 5, 2020 - Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education Finance

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Overview of Governor’s Special Education Proposals

March 5, 2020 - Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 On Education Finance

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The 2020-21 Budget: U-Visa I-918 Form Mandate

March 4, 2020 - State law directs our office to report on the annual state costs for new state-reimbursable mandates and make recommendations to the Legislature as to whether the new mandates should be repealed, funded, suspended, or modified. This analysis fulfills that requirement for the U-Visa I-918 Form, Victims of Crime: Nonimmigrant Status mandate, which is one of two newly identified state mandates in the 2020-21 budget.

Handout

Overview of Proposition 98 Budget and Early Education Proposals

March 4, 2020 - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance

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The 2020-21 Budget: Local Agency Employee Organizations, Impasse Procedures II

March 4, 2020 - State law directs our office to report on the annual state costs for new state-reimbursable mandates and make recommendations to the Legislature as to whether the new mandates should be repealed, funded, suspended, or modified. This analysis fulfills that requirement for the Local Agency Employee Organizations, Impasse Procedures II mandate, which is one of two newly identified state mandates in the 2020-21 budget.

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Assessing California’s Climate Policies—Transportation

March 4, 2020 - Presented to: Senate Environmental Quality Committee Hon. Benjamin Allen, Chair and Senate Transportation Committee Hon. Jim Beall, Chair

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Effectively Managing State Prison Infrastructure

March 2, 2020 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 5 On Public Safety Hon. Shirley N. Weber, Chair

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The 2020-21 Budget: California Department of Food and Agriculture

February 28, 2020 - In this analysis we assess the Governor’s 2020‑21 budget proposals for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Specifically, we make recommendations regarding the Governor’s proposals to (1) fund a comprehensive assessment to identify solutions to the California Exposition and State Fair’s (Cal Expo) declining revenues and make available funding to offset near‑term deficiencies, and (2) establish a Fresno‑Merced innovation corridor to boost the region’s economy.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Effectively Managing State Prison Infrastructure

February 28, 2020 - Given the magnitude of the state’s prison infrastructure needs, combined with the possibility of closing a prison in the near future, it will be important for the state to think strategically about managing its prison infrastructure—both in the near term and long term. In this report, we (1) provide an overview of the state’s prison infrastructure, (2) discuss the major drivers of prison infrastructure needs and spending, and (3) provide a road map to guide the Legislature in the development of a plan to strategically manage the state’s prison infrastructure.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Re-Envisioning Medi-Cal—The CalAIM Proposal

February 28, 2020 - In this report, we provide an overview and assessment of the Governor's California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposal, also known as Medi-Cal Healthier California for All. CalAIM would make far-reaching reforms to Medi-Cal that would increase the program’s focus on its high-cost and high-needs enrollee populations, transform and streamline Medi-Cal managed care, extend components of a current federal waiver, and rethink how behavioral health services are financed and delivered.

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The 2020-21 Budget: California Public Utilities Commission

February 27, 2020 - The Governor’s budget proposes $1.7 billion for the California Public Utilities Commission. In this post, we provide our recommendations on the proposed budget for the California LifeLine Program.

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California’s Homelessness Challenges in Context

February 27, 2020 - Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee