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February 25, 2020 - In this report we assess several of the Governor's 2020-21 budget proposals in the natural resources and environmental protection program areas. This includes reviews of the Governor's proposals related to the Department of Toxic Substances Control, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
February 25, 2020 - One of the priorities of the Governor’s proposed 2020‑21 budget is to improve information security (IS) across state government entities. The proposed budget includes resource requests for the entities that govern IS for the entire state to increase their operational capacity, as well as resource requests for individual government entities to expand and improve their IS programs. This budget and policy post provides relevant information about state IS strategy to help the Legislature consider each of these requests.
February 24, 2020 - Presented to: Senate Human Services Committee Hon. Melissa Hurtado, Chair
February 24, 2020 - In this report, we assess the Governor’s overall Proposition 98 budget and his specific proposals for K-12 education. Of the $3.7 billion in new Proposition 98 funding for 2020-21, the budget dedicates $2 billion for one-time initiatives and $1.7 billion for ongoing augmentations. Nearly all of the ongoing funding is to cover an estimated 2.29 percent cost-of-living adjustment for various K-14 programs. Total K-12 funding per student would grow to $12,619 in 2020-21, an increase of $499 (4.1 percent) over the revised 2019-20 level. Most of the one-time proposals in the Governor’s budget seek to address longstanding issues in K-12 education. Many of the proposals, however, seem unlikely to have much long-term effect on these issues. We also are concerned that many proposals are missing important details regarding how the funds would be spent. We recommend the Legislature reject most of these proposals, freeing up more than $1 billion in Proposition 98 funding. We think the Legislature should consider using the freed-up funds to provide fiscal relief to districts. Although the Legislature has various options for providing fiscal relief, we think making additional payments toward districts’ unfunded pension liabilities would offer the greatest fiscal benefit. Paying down these liabilities would improve the funding status of the pension systems and likely reduce district costs over time.
Correction 2/26/20: Corrected reference to the cost of the Governor’s education workforce proposals.
February 24, 2020 - In this report, we discuss issues for the Legislature to consider as it decides whether to change the state’s approach to taxing e‑cigarettes. We find that a tax based on nicotine content has some advantages. We also suggest that the Legislature consider a wide range of possible tax rates. Once the Legislature has chosen a rate, we recommend indexing the rate to inflation and revisiting it frequently to assess whether further adjustments are warranted. If the Legislature chooses to enact a new tax on e‑cigarettes, we recommend that it take an approach to revenue allocation that prioritizes flexibility.
February 21, 2020 - While wildfires have always been a natural part of California’s ecosystems, recent increases in the severity of wildfires and the adverse impacts on communities have increased the focus on the state’s ability to effectively prevent, mitigate, and respond to wildfire risks. This report has two parts. First, we assess the state’s approach to addressing wildfire risks in light of the complex challenges that make an efficient and effective approach difficult. Second, we evaluate the Governor’s various wildfire‑related budget proposals in the absence of having a statewide strategic wildfire plan.
February 21, 2020 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s early education proposals, then analyze his three major early education proposals. Specifically, we analyze his proposals to (1) expand the number of full‑day preschool slots, (2) create a new department to administer child care programs, and (3) fund facilities for more preschool programs.
February 20, 2020 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and Hon. Holly J. Mitchell, Chair
February 20, 2020 - This report provides an overview of the proposed and approved IT projects in the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget. We first provide relevant background information on the state’s IT project approval process, approaches to development and implementation of projects once approved, maintenance and operation of IT systems once completed, and requirements for state government entities to request resources for projects through the budget process. We then identify and summarize the budget requests to plan proposed projects and to develop and implement projects (whether proposed or approved).
February 20, 2020 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. Similar to last year, these proposals are wide ranging—including large base increases; targeted increases for apprenticeship programs and food pantries; one-time initiatives relating to extended education programs, work-based learning, faculty diversity, and animal shelters; and many facility projects.
February 20, 2020 - In this brief, we analyze the Governor’s proposals relating to UC medical education. After providing an overview of medical education, we first analyze the Governor’s proposals to expand enrollment and build a new academic building at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. We then analyze the Governor’s proposal to expand enrollment and services at the UCSF Fresno branch campus.
February 19, 2020 - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 On Health and Human Services Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 On State Administration
February 19, 2020 - In this post, we provide a background on employment laws, take an initial look at worker outcomes in the wage claim process, and highlight several opportunities to improve the process. We also assess the Governor’s proposal to hire additional staff at the Department of Industrial Relations to reduce delays that have recently begun to affect wage claims.
February 18, 2020 - The Governor’s 2020‑21 budget includes a total of $19.7 billion from all fund sources for the operation of judicial and criminal justice programs. This is a net increase of $341 million (2 percent) over the revised 2019‑20 level of spending. General Fund spending is proposed to be $16.2 billion in 2020‑21, which represents an increase of $213 million (1 percent) above the revised 2019‑20 level. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize some of our major recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.