March 14, 2019 - In this post, we describe how the California Department of Technology’s (CDT) information technology (IT) project approval process—known as the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL)—does not always align with the state’s annual budget process. We identify seven funding requests in the Governor’s 2019-20 proposed budget for IT project proposals that are currently in various stages of the PAL process. We then describe how these requests for project funding prior to the completion of the PAL planning process may inhibit the Legislature from fully realizing the anticipated benefits of the PAL process, discuss how some project-specific factors can cause misalignment of the budget cycle and PAL, and provide issues for legislative consideration.
February 20, 2020 - This report provides an overview of the proposed and approved IT projects in the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget. We first provide relevant background information on the state’s IT project approval process, approaches to development and implementation of projects once approved, maintenance and operation of IT systems once completed, and requirements for state government entities to request resources for projects through the budget process. We then identify and summarize the budget requests to plan proposed projects and to develop and implement projects (whether proposed or approved).
March 10, 2016 - In this report, we describe the FI$Cal Project, provide an update on the project’s status, and describe the events that triggered the development of a sixth special project report (SPR 6). We also describe the Governor’s 2016–17 budget proposals to: (1) allow the project to implement the changes proposed in SPR 6 and (2) establish a new state department to maintain and operate the FI$Cal System. Finally, we make associated findings and recommendations.
February 13, 2012 - Currently, three automation systems make up California’s Statewide Automated Welfare System (SAWS). These systems support some of the state’s major health and human services programs by providing eligibility determination, case maintenance, and reporting functions at the county level. Chapter 13, Statutes of 2011 (ABX1 16, Blumenfield) directs the administration to reduce this number to two by migrating, or moving, counties on an existing system to Los Angeles County’s new system. In this report, we identify several issues for the Legislature to consider as the administration pursues legislative goals for SAWS consolidation. We offer alternative procurement approaches for the migration that would encourage greater vendor competition. Finally, we make several recommendations to enhance legislative oversight and clarify legislative priorities for SAWS consolidation.
February 28, 2017 - The State Controller’s Office (SCO) has recently renewed its effort to replace the state’s payroll system. In this year’s budget, the Governor proposes $3 million to begin an analysis of proposed alternatives for replacing the system. It makes sense for the state to assess the potential problems, both in terms of functionality and stability, with the state’s payroll system and to explore solutions to these problems. The appropriate selection of a project alternative will be critical to the success of the future payroll project. As such, we recommend the Legislature require the SCO to present its full findings from the alternatives analysis before it is granted additional funding for subsequent analyses. This would provide the Legislature with a clear opportunity to provide meaningful input and weigh in with its own priorities for the payroll system before a solution is procured.
March 26, 2014 - In January 2014, the FI$Cal Project submitted, and the Department of Technology approved, special project report (SPR) 5, which updates the project plans. The SPR 5 includes changes in the project's scope, implementation schedule, and future staffing levels. In this report, we find that SPR 5 reduces overall project risk and make recommendations concerning (1) the project's annual reporting requirement to the Legislature and (2) recruitment and retention issues. Ultimately, we believe that the benefits of proceeding with FI$Cal development outweigh the inherent risks that remain, and therefore recommend approval of the Governor’s budget proposal that reflects a reasonable funding plan to implement the updated project plan (SPR 5).
January 8, 2020 - This report analyzes how the most recent project plan for the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) information technology (IT) project—that has been under development since 2005—changes the project's cost, scope, and schedule. We also discuss what work is anticipated to remain even after the project is deemed by the administration to be "complete." Lastly, we make associated findings and recommendations.
February 27, 2013 - The Governor's budget proposes $28.3 billion in expenditures from the General Fund for health and human services programs in 2013-14. This reflects a 3.4 percent increase for health programs and a 7.9 percent increase for human services programs over 2012-13 estimated expenditures. For the most part, the year-over-year budget changes reflect caseload changes, technical budget adjustments, and the implementation of previously enacted policy changes, as opposed to new policy proposals. In the report, we find that the budget does not reflect the fiscal impact of the proposed Medi-Cal expansion, nor does it reflect potential costs and savings related to various other provisions of federal health care reform. We find that the Governor's Medi-Cal budget proposal assumes General Fund savings that are subject to significant uncertainty. We also provide a status update on the transition of the Healthy Families Program enrollees to Medi-Cal, finding that the transition is generally proceeding as planned, with some delays. We discuss problems in the operation of the state's Developmental Centers (DCs) by the Department of Developmental Services, and recommend that oversight of the DCs be strengthened by the creation of an independent Office of the Inspector General. We discuss the recent major program changes to the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) that are reflected in the budget, and recommend that the Legislature augment CalWORKs employment services funding--a Governor's budget proposal--to a level of funding it deems appropriate in light of its priorities for the program. We raise various fiscal and policy concerns about the Governor's budget assumption that a 20 percent across-the-board reduction in In-Home Supportive Services service hours will be implemented beginning on November 1, 2013. In light of these concerns, we recommend that the Legislature repeal the 20 percent reduction and instead continue a 3.6 percent across-the-board reduction that would otherwise sunset at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year.
February 9, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
March 19, 2014 - In this report, we review the administration’s 2014-15 budget proposal to continue legal activities related to the suspended 21st Century Project (TFC). We find that the Governor’s 2014-15 budget proposes funding for outside legal counsel at roughly one-half of the State Controller's Office's (SCO) estimate of projected costs, and therefore recommend that the Legislature budget the full estimate instead. In addition, we find that an independent assessment of the TFC Project is a necessary precursor to addressing the state’s unmet need for an updated human resources management and payroll system. As the Governor's proposal lacks such an assessment, we recommend the Legislature appropriate additional resources to SCO for such an assessment. We provide details on what such an assessment should include.