October 18, 2017 - Each year, our office publishes the California Spending Plan to summarize the annual state budget. This publication discusses the 2017‑18 Budget Act and other major budget actions approved in 2017. In general, it reflects budgetary actions that the Legislature has taken through September 2017. In some cases, as noted, we discuss budget actions approved by the Legislature after June 15, 2017. In late July, for example, the Legislature passed and the Governor approved, an extension of authority for the Air Resources Board to implement the state’s cap‑and‑trade program from 2020 to 2030.
March 15, 2021 - The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposal is a far-reaching set of reforms to expand, transform, and streamline Medi-Cal service delivery and financing. This post—the fourth in a series assessing different aspects of the Governor’s proposal—analyzes CalAIM proposals targeted at seniors and persons with disabilities, including new benefits and structural changes to how long-term services and supports (LTSS) are administered. (LTSS include, among other supports and services, institutional care in nursing homes and home- and community-based services such as home care and personal care services.)
May 16, 2017 - Rather than return to the original 1991 realignment cost-sharing ratios for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) as initiated by the Governor in January (described in our report: The Coordinated Care Initiative: A Critical Juncture), the administration proposes establishing a new Maintenance of Effort (MOE) for counties’ share of IHSS cost. The new MOE would include both services and administration using 2017-18 costs. The new MOE would significantly increase costs to counties in 2017-18 relative to 2016-17. While the MOE shifts significant costs to counties, the proposal provides state General Fund support and additional realignment revenue to partially offset this increase. In this analysis, we lay out the various components of this complex proposal. We also raise key questions for Legislative consideration and provide our recommendation for how to move forward.
November 4, 2013 - The LAO’s annual California Spending Plan publication details the 2013-14 budget package, including legislative and gubernatorial actions through October 2013. (Our office released a preliminary electronic version of the report on July 30, 2013 that summarized legislative and gubernatorial actions through that date.) Major features of the 2013-14 budget plan include $2.1 billion for a new formula to distribute funding amongst schools, a state-based plan to expand Medi-Cal to cover more than one million additional low-income adults, and selected program augmentations.
January 13, 2017 - This publication is our office’s initial response to the Governor's 2017-18 budget proposal. The administration's estimates anticipate slow growth in the personal income tax (PIT), the state’s dominant revenue source. The Governor’s estimate of PIT growth in 2017-18 is probably too low. As a result, by the May Revision, the state could have more General Fund revenue than the Governor now projects, but much of that revenue would be required to go to schools and Proposition 2 reserves and debt payments. Facing uncertainties we have long discussed about the economy and new uncertainties about changes to federal policy, the Legislature may want to set a target for total state reserves at—or preferably above—the level the Governor now proposes.
May 17, 2017 - In this Budget and Policy Post, we provide an overview of several of the key factors driving the changes in estimated and proposed Medi-Cal spending in 2016-17 and 2017-18; our evaluation of the Governor’s updated caseload estimates; and an update on several key proposals from the January budget, some of which have been modified at May Revision. During continuing budget deliberations, we recommend that the Legislature ask for clarity from the Department of Health Care Services on how the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program will be funded in the future under the Governor’s proposal if Health Care Services Plans and Penalties Fund revenues are insufficient to cover the costs of the program. We also recommend that the Legislature, should it approve the Governor’s plan to cancel the planned transition of Newly Qualified Immigrants from Medi-Cal to Covered California, consider trailer bill language that repeals existing state statutory language that calls for the transition. Finally, we recommended a downward technical adjustment of $62 million General Fund to the 2017-18 May Medi-Cal Estimate.
February 27, 2013 - In 2012, the Legislature authorized the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) as an eight-county pilot to demonstrate the integration of Medi-Cal and Medicare benefits for "dual eligibles"--beneficiaries eligible for both benefits. The CCI will also integrate long-term services and supports (LTSS) under Medi-Cal managed care in the eight counties for dual eligibles and seniors and persons with disabilities covered only by Medi-Cal. The Governor's budget delays the start date of CCI implementation to September 1, 2013, resulting in lower 2013-14 savings than initially anticipated. Joint federal-state decisions regarding key financing and operational aspects of CCI are pending, creating uncertainty regarding the timely and successful implementation of CCI. We recommend that the Legislature clarify the legal status of CCI to go forward and consider authorizing CCI to test greater integration of In-Home Supportive Services--a particular LTSS--under managed care.
October 15, 2018 - California has shifted programmatic and funding responsibility between the state and counties for various programs over the last 40 years. Historically, these shifts—or realignments—aimed to benefit both the state and counties by providing greater local flexibility over services, allowing counties opportunities to innovate and improve program outcomes, and encouraging cost savings by requiring counties to share in program costs. To achieve these benefits, we believe there are certain principles any realignment needs to follow. This report evaluates the extent to which one of California’s more notable realignments undertaken in 1991 achieves the intended benefits and meets these principles.
October 17, 2019 - From the General Fund, the 2019-20 spending plan provides $26.4 billion for health programs and $15.5 billion for human services programs—an increase of 18 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively, over estimated 2018-19 General Fund spending in these two policy areas. Major health-related policy actions include the reauthorization of a tax on managed care organizations (which will reduce the above-noted General Fund health spending by $1 billion, pending federal approval) and over $400 million General Fund for state-funded subsidies for health insurance purchased on the individual market through Covered California. Major human services-related policy actions include General Fund support to increase CalWORKS cash grants and most developmental services provider rates, and to restore previously reduced service hours in the In-Home Supportive Services program. The spending plan also reflects the deposit of $700 million into a safety net reserve (bringing its balance to $900 million) that can be used for future CalWORKs and/or Medi-Cal expenditures.
November 18, 2015 - California's state budget is better prepared for an economic downturn than it has been at any point in decades. Under the main economic scenario in this year's LAO Fiscal Outlook, 2016-17 would end with reserves of $11.5 billion, assuming the state makes no new budget commitments through next year. If the economy continues to grow through 2019-20, annual operating surpluses and larger reserves could materialize, and there may be capacity for some new budget commitments—whether spending increases or tax reductions. An economic or stock market downturn, however, could occur during our outlook period. To illustrate this economic uncertainty, we provide projections under alternative scenarios such as a hypothetical recession that causes budget deficits to re-emerge. The more new budget commitments are made in 2016-17, the more likely it is that the state would face difficult choices—such as spending cuts and tax increases—later.
March 8, 2019 - This report evaluates the changes the Governor proposes and assesses whether the changes better position 1991 realignment to achieve its intended benefits and meet the principles of a successful state-county fiscal partnership we identified in our October report.
February 22, 2019 - In this report, we evaluate the Governor's major human services budget proposals for programs administered by the Department of Social Services, including the California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP), the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), and foster care.