Other Budget Issues

This Web-based list provides comments by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) on budget issues being considered by the Legislature in 2014. Both budget-related findings and recommendations are included, but this is not intended to be a comprehensive tracking system of all budget items. The LAO will continue to publish various other written documents analyzing the state budget. The purpose of this list is to provide an efficient forum for our office to address more technical budget issues for which we may not have a formal write-up.

This list is designed so it can be filtered by policy area or budget item. Also, selected information from the list can be downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet.

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2014 Recommendations

Last Updated Program Issue Finding or Recommendation More Detail?
11/22/2014 Proposition 30 The LAO's outlook for revenues resulting from the temporary tax measure passed in 2012 This note describes the numbers concerning Proposition 30 that are reflected in our Nov. 19, 2014 publication, California's Fiscal Outlook. Detail
10/16/2014 Revenues California "Big Three" tax revenues $465 million above projections for September This note discusses September 2014 California state revenue collection trends. Detail
5/21/2014 Budget Forecast Multiyear forecast of state finances under Governor's May Revision proposals This note provides a brief description of our multiyear forecast of state finances if the Legislature were to adopt the Governor's May Revision proposals. Detail
5/20/2014 California Gambling Control Commission Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund Transfer Approve Governor's May Revision proposal. Consider changing how payments are made into various Indian gaming funds in future compact negotiations. Detail
5/20/2014 Judiciary Trial Court Operations Funding Modify administration’s proposal to (1) distribute entire augmentation based on workload, (2) set priorities for the use of such funds, and (3) require reporting on their expected and actual use. Clarify provisional language authorizing General Fund backfill if fine and fee revenue supporting trial court operations is lower than expected. Detail
5/19/2014 Property Tax Administration Proposed pilot unlikely to provide reliable results Reject Governor's May Revision updated pilot proposal to provide grant funds ($7.5 million General Fund) to nine counties to improve county property tax administration. Detail
5/18/2014 Department of Health Care Services Governor's proposal for pharmacy benefits in Medi-Cal managed care Reject Governor’s proposal to (1) establish a statewide outpatient contract drug list and (2) collect state supplemental rebates for drugs provided through Medi-Cal managed care. Investigate continuity of care issues related to managed care pharmacy benefits. If problems are found, consider options that balance patient access with managed care plans' ability to manage drug costs. Detail
5/17/2014 Department of Health Care Services Mandatory Medi-Cal expansion cost estimates Reduce Governor's May Revision Medi-Cal budget by roughly $300 million to reflect lower per enrollee cost assumptions for the mandatory Medi-Cal expansion. Detail
5/15/2014 Commission on State Mandates Proposal to pay down state mandates backlog Approve the Governor's proposal to appropriate $100 million to pay pre-2004 local government mandate claims. Detail
5/12/2014 Commission on State Mandates Existing state tuberculosis (TB) control funding should be used to address TB control mandate. Reject Governor's proposal to suspend the TB control mandate. Eliminate future TB control mandate claims by requiring local agencies to pay for mandated activities using existing state TB control funding. Balance potential increases to TB control funding with other budgetary priorities. Detail
5/11/2014 April Revenue Tracker Updates concerning April 2014 California tax collections. This note—updated regularly during the month of April 2014—provided up-to-date information on California tax collections during that key month. Detail
5/6/2014 State Civil Service Classifications Shortcomings in review process for state employee classifications led to incongruities with law Adopt supplemental report language for 2014-15 directing the Department of Human Resources and the State Personnel Board to submit a joint report by January 10, 2015 concerning (1) the state's civil service classification review process and (2) the efforts to ensure the recreation state's recreation therapist classifications comply with state law. Detail
4/16/2014 Revenues Fewer tax refunds than projected in March. 13-14 revenues still above Governor's forecast. This note provides preliminary information concerning March 2014 state revenue collections. Detail
4/14/2014 Revenues April 2014 collections are projected to fall from last year's lofty totals. This note answers some key questions about April 2014 personal income tax collections, which we are now tracking on a daily basis via our website. Detail
4/10/2014 State Controller's Office Initiative to increase holder compliance with unclaimed property program Approve proposal on a two-year limited term—rather than permanent—basis. Detail
4/2/2014 Department of General Services Sacramento long-range planning study Approve $1.5 million--from the Service Revolving Fund rather than the General Fund--for the office planning study update and facility condition assessments components of the Governor's proposal. Reject about $1 million in funding for the sequencing and funding plan components. Also, request that DGS report at budget subcommittee hearings on its plan for ongoing facility condition assessments. Detail
3/26/2014 Department of Insurance Proposal for additional resources related to ACA implementation Recommend approving 7 consumer services positions on a limited-term basis. Detail
3/19/2014 CalSTRS LAO answers some recent questions concerning CalSTRS unfunded liabilities This note provides responses to some recent questions concerning unfunded liabilities of the California State Teachers' Retirement System. Detail
3/19/2014 CalSTRS Perspectives on the CalSTRS funding scenarios discussed at the March 19, 2014 joint hearing. This note provides additional perspectives concerning the funding scenarios presented by representatives at CalSTRS at the March 19, 2014 informational hearing of the Senate and Assembly public employment and retirement committees. Detail
3/14/2014 Department of General Services Office of Administrative Hearings staffing augmentation Approve Governor's January proposal to provide a net increase of $1.8 million annually from the Service Revolving Fund for 19 additional positions--including 14 permanent administrative law judges (ALJs)--partially offset by a reduction in funding for temporary ALJs. Require reporting on annual caseload and hearing time frames. Detail
3/11/2014 Revenues February 2014 California income taxes far above projections This note provides an update on California's February 2014 collections of major state taxes. (Updated March 11, 2014.) Detail
3/6/2014 Taxes Requirements for accelerated remittance of certain income tax estimated and withholding payments Recommend, at some point in the future, repealing 2008 and 2009 laws that accelerated certain state receipts of personal income and corporate taxes. Detail
3/3/2014 Department of Technology Pilot to determine value of stronger auditing effort by OIS to validate IT security compliance. We recommend approval with modifications of the Governor’s proposal for $684,000 to fund five limited-term positions for a two-year pilot project within OIS to audit state departments' compliance with state and federal IT security policies. Detail
3/3/2014 State Board of Equalization Staffing levels of Fire Prevention Fee Program Recommend fewer permanent staff for fire fee workload Detail
2/28/2014 State Borrowing Costs Recommend new interest calculation for future special fund loans Recommend using blended interest rate on future special fund loans to more appropriately compensate special funds for their reduced balances. Detail
2/24/2014 Department of Insurance Regulation of accelerated death benefits Approve administration’s budget proposal for new positions on a limited-term, instead of a permanent, basis. Detail
2/24/2014 Department of Insurance Reduce funding proposed for coordination with Office of Patient Advocate Reduce proposed funding by $54,000 to fund only 1 one-year limited-term position. Detail
2/24/2014 State Controller's Office Proposed added staff for statewide human resources training Approve proposal on a permanent—rather than two-year limited term—basis. Detail
2/20/2014 Franchise Tax Board Implementation of the Enterprise Data to Revenue (EDR) project Adjust administration's budget proposal to better align permanent workforce with ongoing work. Detail
2/12/2014 Citizens Redistricting Commission Recommend rejecting proposed budget increase Reject Governor's January budget proposal to augment the commission's General Fund budget by (1) $15,000 to support an interagency agreement with the Department of General Services for financial and human resources services and (2) $5,000 for external legal services. Direct administration to develop plan for commission to absorb costs within 2013-14 funding levels. Detail
2/10/2014 Revenues "Big Three" state taxes basically on target in January 2014 This note provides updated sales, personal income, and corporation tax collection information for the State of California for the month of January 2014. Detail
2/7/2014 State Borrowing Costs Interest on cash and special fund loans likely below administration estimates We find that costs of the state's cash management and budgetary loans likely will be tens of millions of dollars less than the administration estimates in 2014-15. Detail
2/4/2014 Revenues Overall, California's January income taxes on target This note provides an update on 2014 California income tax collections. Detail
1/7/2014 Revenues California's December income tax collections were quite strong This provides an update on December 2013 personal income tax and corporation tax revenue collections for the State of California. Detail