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The 2010-11 Budget: Health and Social Services--A Restricted Environment

March 26, 2010 - Health and social services (H&SS) expenditures account for about 29 percent of General Fund spending in California. As part of his plan to bring revenues and expenditures into balance, the Governor’s budget proposes major reductions and program eliminations in the area of H&SS. In this report we describe spending and program requirements as well as key considerations for evaluating budget solutions. We also identify strategies for achieving savings in a restricted environment.

This report and the companion piece The 2010-11 Budget: Health and Social Services Budget Primer provide a framework for policymakers as they make very difficult budget decisions in health and social services.

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The 2010-11 Budget: Health and Social Services Budget Primer

March 26, 2010 - In 2009-10, expenditures for health and social services programs in California are estimated to be about $25 billion or 29 percent of statewide General Fund spending. Spending on health and social services programs accounts for 36 percent of total spending when special funds, federal funds, and the General Fund are included. This primer provides an understanding of the overall health and social services expenditures, the workings of major health and social services programs, spending trends in major programs, and the major funding sources for health and social services programs.

This primer and the companion piece The 2010-11 Budget: Health and Social Services—A Restricted Environment provide a framework for policymakers as they make very difficult budget decisions in health and social services.

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The 2010-11 Budget: Funding and Policy Options for the Beverage Container Recycling Program

March 18, 2010 - Since July 2009, the Beverage Container Recycling Program has faced severe cuts, necessitated by a projected $157 million fund deficit for 2009‑10 in its primary funding source—the Beverage Container Recycling Fund (BCRF). In February 2010, the Legislature enacted a number of measures in the special session to begin addressing the funding challenges in this program. In this report, we review the Governor’s budget and policy proposals to address the deficit, recap the enacted special session changes to the program in both the current year and the budget year, and offer our recommendations for additional budget-year actions, including long-term changes to the program.

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The 2010-11 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

March 8, 2010 - In reviewing the Governor's budget proposal, we uncovered current actions and proposals of the administration that either circumvent the Legislature's authority, make it difficult for the Legislature to oversee the administration's spending, or limit the Legislature's flexibility in making decisions. We found that the administration is: developing new renewable energy procurement requirements that circumvent legislative policy as reflected in current state law (known as the renewables portfolio standard); using an Emergency Fund--intended to pay for large-incident wildland firefighting costs--to cover some day-to-day departmental expenditures that are more appropriately made subject to legislative budget review; proposing a somewhat similar emergency fund for flood management that would be structured to allow the administration to augment it at its discretion without notifying the Legislature; and proposing again to fund recreation activities at State Water Project facilities in a way that escapes legislative budgetary review for all the spending. Finally, we recommend rejection of the Governor’s proposal to dedicate the ongoing Tranquillon Ridge oil lease revenues to support state parks, because it limits the Legislature's future decision making.

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2010-11 Budget Analysis: High-Speed Rail Authority

March 3, 2010 - We review the 2010-11 budget request of the High-Speed Rail Authority.

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The 2010-11 Budget: Transportation

March 2, 2010 - The Governor’s budget proposes $18 billion in expenditures (mostly from special funds) for transportation programs in 2010‑11. We recommend the Legislature (1) reduce Caltrans' capital outlay support (COS) staffing by about 1,500 (and $200 million a year) to align with actual workload if Caltrans does not provide workload justification for its COS budget; (2) reject the Governor's request to appropriate $3.45 billion in future federal transportation funds for public-private partnerships because this program does not appear to be permissible under current law and because details are not available regarding how the majority of the funds (about $2.5 billion) would be used; and (3) adopt new reporting requirements for the High-Speed Rail Authority to increase accountability.

(Short video introducing this report)

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The 2010-11 Budget: Higher Education

February 25, 2010 - Though the Governor portrays his 2010-11 budget proposal as protecting education, his plan would affect areas of education quite differently—significantly reducing funding for child care and K-12 education while augmenting funding for most higher education programs. We recommend the Legislature build a more balanced education budget. For higher education, we recommend providing new funding for community colleges through a $14 per unit fee increase; reducing the proposed augmentations for the state’s universities while still restoring their per-student funding rates to 2007-08 levels; and rejecting the Governor's proposed cuts to financial aid programs. Our recommendations on other parts of the education budget are contained in a companion publication: The 2010-11 Budget: Proposition 98 and K-12 Education.

(Short video introducing this report)

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The 2010-11 Budget: Proposition 98 and K-12 Education

February 25, 2010 - Though the Governor portrays his 2010-11 budget proposal as protecting education, his plan would affect areas of education quite differently—significantly reducing funding for child care and K-12 education while augmenting funding for most higher education programs. We recommend the Legislature build a more balanced education budget. Detailed in this report, our Proposition 98 alternative budget plan cuts child care about $100 million less than the Governor; makes approximately $800 million in targeted cuts to K-12 education, with additional K-12 cuts, as needed, coming from general purpose and/or categorical funding; and provides new funding for community colleges through a $14 per unit fee increase. In a companion publication, The 2010-11 Budget: Higher Education, we provide additional detail on our community college recommendations, as well as cover various other postsecondary education areas, including the state's universities and financial aid programs.

(Video introducing this report)

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The 2010-11 Budget: How the Special Session Actions Would Affect Social Services

January 29, 2010 - For the special session, the Governor proposes solutions for social services programs totaling $121 million in 2009‑10 and $2.6 billion in 2010‑11. The state Department of Social Services (DSS) oversees most of these programs. There are two main types of proposed solutions: expenditure reductions and fund shifts (federal, county, and special funds). In addition to the General Fund savings, adoption of this package would result in the loss of about $3 billion in federal funds, assuming that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is extended through June 30, 2010. In this piece we provide our analysis of the Governor’s proposals, in some cases offer alternative approaches, and recommend the actions that we believe the Legislature should take on them at this time.

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The 2010-11 Budget: The Governor's Employee Compensation Proposals

January 27, 2010 - This report discusses some key issues facing the Legislature in the employee compensation area of the budget. In 2009–10, the state has achieved significant savings due to the Governor’s furlough program, which is being challenged in many court cases. For 2010–11, the Governor proposes various measures to reduce state personnel costs, including shifting pension contribution costs from the state to employees, unallocated reductions in personnel budgets of departments, and an across–the–board salary reduction for employees. These proposals would result in $2.5 billion in savings ($1.4 billion General Fund). We believe that employee compensation reductions are necessary due to the magnitude of the budget problem. Nevertheless, some of the administration’s proposals would face legal challenges or otherwise may be difficult to implement. Consequently, we recommend that the Legislature focus efforts to reduce compensation costs on pay reduction options. Special session.

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The 2010-11 Budget: Automated Speed Enforcement Merits Authorization

January 27, 2010 - This policy brief examines the Governor’s special session proposal to generate additional state revenues from penalties imposed on drivers who are caught speeding through the use of automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems. In this brief, we outline how ASE systems would work, assess the administration’s estimate of new state revenues from this approach, and provide our comments and recommendations on the proposal.

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Prisons vs. Universities Proposal Would Unwisely Lock Up Budget Flexibility

January 26, 2010 - In his January budget, the Governor proposed a state constitutional amendment that would require reductions in spending on state corrections, with corresponding increases in spending for public universities. Beginning in 2014–15, the state would be required to dedicate no more than 7 percent of state General Fund spending to corrections and no less than 10 percent to public universities. We urge the Legislature to reject this proposal because it (1) would unwisely constrain the state’s ability to allocate funding where it is most needed each year; and (2) is unnecessary, as the state already has the ability to shift funding among programs without this constitutional amendment. Special session.

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The 2010-11 Budget: Assessing the Prison Population Reduction Proposal

January 25, 2010 - As part of the January 2010 special session to begin bringing the 2009‑10 and 2010‑11 budgets into balance, the Governor proposes statutory changes to reduce the state’s inmate and parolee populations. Specifically, the Governor proposes to require that offenders who have no prior serious or violent offenses and are convicted of certain property and drug felony crimes serve a maximum sentence of one year and one day in county jail in lieu of a state prison sentence. The administration estimates that, if approved by March 1, 2010, these changes would reduce state correctional costs by $25.2 million in 2009‑10 and $291.6 million in 2010‑11. In this brief, we (1) analyze the Governor’s proposal, particularly in the context of recent policy actions to reduce the inmate and parole populations, and (2) recommend modifying the Governor’s proposal to permit counties to place additional jail inmates on electronic home monitoring.

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The 2010-11 Budget: How the Special Session Actions Would Affect Health Programs

January 22, 2010 - The Governor’s various proposed actions to obtain savings in the current and budget years through actions in the special session have significant implications for the state’s health services programs. In this report, we (1) discuss some of the key overriding issues relating to the Governor’s plan, (2) summarize the Governor’s health budget proposals, and (3) provide our initial comments on a number of the major proposals in each specific program area. We note that we are still receiving information about these proposals from the administration that may prompt us to modify our recommendations. (Revised: 1/24/2010)

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Combined Index for the 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series

April 2, 2009 - Combined index of the full 14 report 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series.