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January 31, 2022 - The Governor’s budget proposes $200 million General Fund over two years for the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) within the Department of Conservation (DOC) to plug deserted wells and decommission associated facilities. Although addressing deserted wells could have environmental, health, and safety benefits, this proposal represents a significant expansion of current well remediation activities. In addition, federal funding for well remediation activities will soon be available. Furthermore, it may be appropriate for the current oil and gas operators to bear at least some of the cost of remediating the environmental damages from these wells—rather than the general taxpayer through the state General Fund. We recommend the Legislature consider reducing the amount of state funding proposed, consider using alternative sources of funding to support well remediation, and require reporting on key program outcomes to inform future funding decisions.
January 31, 2022 - This post provides our analysis of the Governor’s proposals for the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to implement a required peace officer decertification program and a proposed law enforcement officer wellness program.
January 31, 2022 - In this post, we discuss the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB’s) efforts to update the water quality control plan for the Sacramento‑San Joaquin Bay‑Delta and its source rivers.
January 28, 2022 - In his January budget, the Governor proposes to provide a 5.33 percent cost-of-living adjustment to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and change the formula to soften the impact of declining attendance on school districts. In this post, we provide background on LCFF, describe and assess the Governor’s proposals, and provide our recommendations to the Legislature.
January 26, 2022 - This 2022-23 budget post provides background on federal COVID-19 business assistance programs and describes the Governor’s proposal to modify state tax laws as they relate to some of these grant programs. This post also provides some comments to the Legislature on the Governor’s proposal.
January 26, 2022 - This 2022-23 budget post provides background on temporary limits on the use of net operating loss deductions and business tax credits. It describes the Governor’s proposal to lift these limits one year early and provides some comments to the Legislature.
January 25, 2022 - In this post, we provide a description and analysis of the Governor’s 2022-23 budget proposals to spend the additional revenues the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is expected to receive from last year’s governance and fiscal reform. Overall, we find that the proposals are consistent with the information the Legislature used as the basis for approving DTSC’s governance and fiscal reform. However, we recommend the Legislature continue to conduct oversight of the programmatic expansions being proposed and to revisit staffing levels in future years.
December 17, 2021 - This post summarizes the state’s 2021-22 spending package for child care and preschool. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget.
December 10, 2021 - This post describes the mental health services available to students attending California’s public colleges and universities, highlights recent developments in student mental health since the start of the pandemic, and assesses the data currently available on student mental health issues. It concludes with a recommendation to enhance related reporting requirements applying to the three public higher education segments.
December 6, 2021 - Revenue from quarterly cap‑and‑trade auctions is deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), and the funds are allocated to various climate‑related programs. In this post, we (1) summarize the results from the recent November 2021 cap‑and‑trade auction, (2) estimate future GGRF revenue and the amount available for discretionary spending under three different scenarios, and (3) identify issues for legislative consideration as it begins its 2022‑23 budget deliberations.
December 1, 2021 - Chapter 226 of 2019 (AB 321, Patterson) created a sales and use tax exemption for certain truck deliveries. The law also directs our office to submit a biannual report measuring the number of truck deliveries affected by the new exemption. This post describes our attempts to fulfill this requirement.
November 22, 2021 - The 2021‑22 spending plan provides just over $23 billion from the General Fund for human services programs. This is an increase of over $6 billion, or 37 percent, compared to the revised prior-year spending level. This significant increase is primarily the result of higher spending in several different departments and programs.
November 18, 2021 - This post provides an update on the progress of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) funding plan. The post: (1) describes the changes to unfunded actuarial obligation and contribution rates in 2021-22, based on the most recent actuarial valuation; (2) describes the potential effects of the 2020-21 investment returns; and (3) revisits the recommendations we raised in our March 2021 publication, Strengthening the CalSTRS Funding Plan, using the extreme volatility in investment returns to illustrate how those recommendations would strengthen CalSTRS’ ability to successfully pay down unfunded actuarial obligation—both the state’s share and employers’ share—by 2046.