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The 2019-20 Budget: Overview of the California Spending Plan (Preliminary Version)

July 18, 2019 - Each year, our office releases the California Spending Plan to summarize the annual state budget package. This preliminary publication provides an overview of the 2019-20 Budget Act (and related budget legislation) and highlights major features. This publication reflects budgetary actions taken by the Legislature and signed by the Governor through early July 2019. Later this fall, we will release a final version of this publication and a series of issue-specific posts that will reflect the budgetary actions taken later in the legislative session.

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The California State Bar: Considerations for a Fee Increase

June 26, 2019 - This report presents our assessment of the State Bar as required by Business and Professions Code Section 6145. Specifically, our analysis focuses on evaluating the portion of the annual licensing fee charged to attorneys that is deposited into the State Bar’s General Fund and the State Bar’s request for a fee increase in 2020.

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Allocating Utility Wildfire Costs: Options and Issues for Consideration

June 21, 2019 - Recent catastrophic wildfires caused by utilities in California have caused tens of billions of dollars in property damage. Under current legal standards, these damages will directly lead to increased costs for utilities, which could be passed on to ratepayers. Moreover, the recognition of increased potential costs associated with wildfire risks has affected the credit markets, contributing to one investor owned utility (Pacific Gas and Electric) declaring bankruptcy, as well as credit downgrades for other utilities. These credit effects will make it more difficult and expensive for utilities to secure financing for capital investments, which will also increase costs for ratepayers, as well as potentially affect other policy goals. The goal of this report is to be a resource for policymakers and the public seeking to better understand the complicated issues surrounding utilities and the costs associated with wildfire risks.

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The 2019-20 Budget: May Revision Multiyear Budget Outlook

May 17, 2019 - This report presents our office’s independent assessment of the condition of the state General Fund budget through 2022-23 assuming the economy continues to grow and all of the Governor’s May Revision spending proposals are adopted.

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The 2019-20 May Revision: Overview of the May Revision Proposition 98 Package

May 13, 2019 - In this post, we analyze the major changes related to Proposition 98 under the Governor’s May Revision. The first section provides background on the calculation of the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee and the Proposition 98 reserve. The next section describes the changes in the administration’s estimates of the minimum guarantee and Proposition 98 spending proposals. The last section provides our high-level assessment of these estimates and proposals.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Creating an Integrated Education Data System

May 6, 2019 - In this brief, we provide (1) background on the state’s education data systems and past efforts to connect them, (2) describe the Governor’s proposal to develop an integrated education data system, (3) assess the proposal, and (4) make associated recommendations.

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Improving California’s Prison Inmate Classification System

May 2, 2019 - In this report, we provide background information on CDCR’s inmate classification system, assess the current system, and recommend steps to improve it.

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Evaluation of Cal Grant C Program

April 30, 2019 - In this report, we evaluate the Cal Grant C program, as required by statute, and make a recommendation regarding whether the state should maintain it.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Community College Student Success Awareness Initiative

April 25, 2019 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposal to fund more student outreach regarding college affordability, career pathways, and transfer options at the California Community Colleges (CCC). Below, we (1) provide background on existing CCC programs related to these topics, (2) describe the Governor’s funding proposal and the CCC Chancellor’s Office’s plan to use the funds, (3) assess the proposal and spending plan, and (4) make an associated recommendation.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Student Food and Housing Insecurity at the University of California

April 25, 2019 - The Governor proposes to provide the University of California (UC) with ongoing funding to address student food and housing insecurity. UC indicates it would use the proposed funds either to augment student financial aid or support specific food and housing initiatives. In this brief, we provide background, then describe the Governor’s proposal. Next, we offer issues to consider and provide associated recommendations.

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The 2019-20 Budget: California State Library Local Assistance Proposals

April 25, 2019 - In this brief, we analyze the Governor’s proposals to provide one‑time General Fund for two local library initiatives—the Zip Books program and Lunch at the Library. We begin with an overview of the State Library and local libraries in California. We then describe and assess each proposal and offer associated recommendations.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Hastings College of the Law

April 24, 2019 - In this brief, we provide background on the Hastings College of the Law, then describe the Governor’s proposed budget for the law school and the school’s proposed spending plan. Next, we provide our assessment of Hastings’ budget and offer associated recommendations.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Reorganization of the Division of Juvenile Justice

April 10, 2019 - This report provides an overview of California’s juvenile justice system including DJJ and highlights several key questions raised by the Governor’s proposal for the Legislature to consider as the administration provides more detailed information on the proposal in the coming months.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Analysis of the Carve Out of Medi-Cal Pharmacy Services From Managed Care

April 5, 2019 - This report analyzes one of the two initiatives included in the Governor's executive order: to transition the pharmacy services benefit in Medi‑Cal, the state’s largest low‑income health care program, from managed care to entirely a fee‑for‑service (FFS) benefit directly paid for and administered by the state.

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A Review of LifeLine Budget Estimates and Enrollment Process

April 3, 2019 - The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC's) LifeLine program provides free or discounted phone service to about 1.7 million households and has an annual budget of more than $350 million. The Supplemental Report of the 2018-19 Budget Act requires our office to (1) review the caseload and budget estimates for this program and make recommendations about how CPUC could improve the accuracy of its estimates and (2) assess and make recommendations about ways to improve enrollment and re-enrollment in the program. This report fulfills those requirements.