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 2015. 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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2015 Recommendations

Last Updated Program Issue Finding or Recommendation More Detail?
5/28/2015 Position Authority Administration proposes to end use of authorizing limited term position authority in budget. Changing state’s policies for short-term employment or personnel funding warrant thorough consideration. Detail
5/26/2015 State budget LAO multiyear budget outlook This post discusses our current outlook for the future condition of the state General Fund. Detail
5/22/2015 Franchise Tax Board Implementation and administration costs for proposed EITC Adopt budget bill language and supplemental reporting language to monitor EITC program implementation. Detail
5/21/2015 Proposition 2 Calculations Counting special fund loan interest could free up $27 million of General Fund resources in 2015-16 This note discusses the possibility of counting budgeted special fund loan interest payments toward Proposition 2 debt payment requirements. Detail
5/18/2015 Vacant Positions Administration proposals to change workforce budgeting. Repeal Section 12439 of the Government Code. Consider how administration proposal affects legislative oversight of state departments' workforces. Detail
5/17/2015 Contribution to Prefund Other Postemployment Benefits Control Section 3.61 Modify Governor's proposed language for Control Section 3.61 to ensure that the significant decisions about retiree health funding remain under the control of the Legislature. Detail
5/17/2015 Civil Service System Changes to the state's hiring process Needed improvements to the civil service system warrant thorough consideration. Detail
5/16/2015 Department of Developmental Services Governor's May Revision proposal to close Developmental Centers We recommend the Legislature: (1) adopt the administration's proposed trailer bill language as placeholder trailer bill language; (2) approve the three May Revision requests for a total of $49.3 million (46.9 million General Fund) to begin the development of community resources; (3) require the department to report at budget hearings on key elements of the Developmental Center closure proposal. Detail
5/16/2015 Crosscutting May Revision proposal related to President's executive actions on immigration Weigh trade-offs of including any funding for executive actions in budget given significant legal uncertainty. To extent funding is included, assume lower spending than budgeted in Governor's May Revision given likelihood of longer phase-in than assumed in budget. Detail
5/15/2015 Crosscutting Initial Comments on the Governor's May Revision Detail
5/6/2015 Secretary for Health and Human Services Expansion of Office of Law Enforcement Support Modify Governor's April request for $2.6 million to increase OLES oversight of DSH and DDS law enforcement by (1) approving funding for the proposed attorney positions and (2) redirecting a portion of the remaining funding to OIG. The attorneys will help ensure more successful employee misconduct investigations, while the OIG will provide greater independent oversight than OLES. Detail
5/5/2015 State Mandates Eliminate State Cost of Sex Offender Assessment Mandate Eliminate future state costs for the sex offender assessment mandate by eliminating the elements found to be a state reimbursable mandate, as they do not appear to be a cost-effective method of achieving the objective of ensuring appropriate assessment and monitoring of high-risk sex offenders. Detail
4/28/2015 State Mandates: Fund Medi-Cal Eligibility of Juvenile Offenders Mandate Appropriate $27,469 to fund prior year reimbursements related to the Medi-Cal Eligibility of Juvenile Offenders mandate. Detail
4/15/2015 CalPERS 2015-16 General Fund pension payments to be below projections. On April 14, the CalPERS Board approved the state's 2015-16 contribution rates for state employee pension benefits. The final contribution rates are lower than what was assumed in the Governor's January budget proposal. We estimate that state costs for employee pension benefits will be about $100 million (more than $45 million General Fund) lower than was assumed in the January budget proposal. Detail
4/15/2015 CalSTRS 2015-16 expected state costs up slightly compared to January estimate. This note discusses updated estimates of the state's 2015-16 required contributions to CalSTRS. Detail
4/7/2015 Department of Food and Agriculture Yermo Border Protection Station Relocation Direct DGS to develop a proposal for managing the construction of the Yermo Border Protection Station. Require Caltrans to report at budget hearings on why the Legislature should have confidence that it will meet its current schedule and cost estimate. Require the administration to report at budget hearings on why it is now proposing to fully repay the lease revenue bonds from the General Fund. Detail
3/25/2015 State Employee Health Benefits Proposed high deductible health plan reasonable, but may not reduce #cabudget costs. Reasonable to include High Deductible Health Plan on menu of health plan options available to state employees; however, the fiscal effect of creating such an option is not certain. Detail
3/18/2015 Crosscutting Shift Government Claims Program from VCGCB to DGS. Approve Governor's proposal to shift Government Claims Program to DGS, but make this shift in 2015-16. Approve the Governor's proposal to partially fund the program with the DGS statewide surcharge in 2015-16. Adopt an alternative to the Governor's ongoing funding proposal beginning in 2016-17 by approving a funding structure similar to what the Governor proposes for 2015-16. Detail
3/16/2015 Governor's Office of Emergency Services Hazardous materials emergency response Do not approve the proposed $10 million loan for additional emergency response resources until OES provides information on whether a gap in response capability will exist after the resources provided in the current year have been deployed. Structure fee to ensure resources are utilized by either authorizing it as a tax or expanding it to cover hazardous materials transported by other means. Detail
3/13/2015 Military Department Consolidated headquarters complex Approve Governor's January budget proposal for $8.8 million to purchase land for a consolidated headquarters complex for the California Military Department (CMD). Direct CMD to report at hearings on the prospects of receiving federal funds for the project and what it is doing to secure such funds before approving future phases of the project. Detail
3/9/2015 Department of Food and Agriculture Support and training for the network of California fairs Modify Governor’s proposal to provide funding to the fairs on a one-time basis and target that funding to the fairs at highest risk of closure. Structure funding to incentivize improved management. Pass budget bill language requiring CDFA to report on fairs at greatest risk of closure due to their financial conditions and provide recommendations to address their challenges. Detail
3/6/2015 Department of Consumer Affairs, Dental Hygiene Committee Dental Hygiene Committee—course review. Approve proposal on a two-year limited term—rather than permanent—basis. Detail
3/6/2015 Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education Enhancing bureau oversight of private postsecondary institutions. Modify the administration's proposal to make limited-term two of the three positions proposed for processing applications from institutions that are newly subject to BPPE oversight. Detail
3/3/2015 Department of General Services Mercury Cleaners Site Remediation Approve budget bill language specifying that $7.6 million in funding for certain activities--the purchase and demolition of structures, relocation of tenants, and associated administrative costs--reverts to the General Fund if not needed in 2015-16. It is unclear at this time what level of funding will be needed in the budget year. Detail
2/27/2015 Governor's Office of Emergency Services Drought response activities Withhold recommendation on the proposed $4.4 million for 2015-16 until the May Revision when more complete information on water conditions and additional current-year expenditure data will be available. Detail
2/26/2015 Agricultural Labor Relations Board Meeting ALRB Workload Needs Approve the Governor's proposal, but make staff for new regional offices limited term. Additionally, require ALRB to report to the Legislature as part of the 2017-18 budget process on workload and outcomes to reassess ongoing staffing needs. Detail
2/11/2015 State Treasurer California Health Facility Construction Loan Insurance Program A continuous appropriation for this loan insurance program is reasonable, but the administration's focus should be on ensuring that the Cal-Mortgage program's fund is maintained with sufficient reserves so that such an appropriation never becomes necessary. Detail
2/5/2015 State Mandates Fund Mandate Related to Local Revenue Shifts Allocate $217,678 to fund the prior year reimbursements related to the Accounting for Local Revenue Realignments mandate. Detail
2/5/2015 State Mandates Recast Peace Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Mandate as Best Practices Eliminate future state costs for the POBOR II mandate by recasting its requirements as best practices. If the Legislature wishes to maintain POBOR II’s requirements, we recommend the Legislature allocate funding to reimburse local government costs related to this mandate. Detail