February 19, 2013 - In this report, we review the Governor’s 2013-14 budget proposals for various resources and environmental protection departments and programs, including the Department of Water Resources, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of Parks and Recreation, California Energy Commission, and the Air Resources Board. We identify concerns with several of the proposals and make recommendations for legislative consideration. In some cases, we identify proposals that we think should be rejected or modified. In particular, we point out several budget proposals that would impact state expenditures in future years. We also note that the proposed budget includes several proposals to use certain revenues for different activities that may not be legally allowable given the revenue source. In addition, we identify several issues in the report that we believe merit greater legislative oversight, including a new surcharge on investor-owned utility electricity bills that the California Public Utilities Commission has been collecting since January 2012 without legislative authorization.
February 16, 2016 - The Governor’s budget for 2016–17 proposes a total of $9 billion in expenditures from various sources for programs administered by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agencies. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.
October 18, 2021 - The 2021‑22 budget package provides a total of $21.7 billion from various fund sources—the General Fund, bond funds, and various special funds—for programs administered by the California Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agencies. This is a net increase of $4.8 billion (22 percent) compared to 2020‑21 estimated expenditures.
Correction 10/22/21: Funding amount for CDFW has been corrected.
February 25, 2020 - In this report we assess several of the Governor's 2020-21 budget proposals in the natural resources and environmental protection program areas. This includes reviews of the Governor's proposals related to the Department of Toxic Substances Control, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
February 14, 2018 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize our major findings and recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.
October 17, 2019 - The 2019-20 budget includes over $12 billion for the state’s natural resources and environmental protection programs. This post describes budgetary actions related to the annual cap-and-trade expenditure plan, support for a new safe and affordable drinking water program, funding for a variety of wildfire prevention and response activities, as well as other significant changes.
March 6, 2019 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation
March 7, 2019 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review, Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation
March 7, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources and Environmental Protection Hon. Jim Beall, Chair
February 3, 2009 - The Governor’s budget proposes only one significant budget-balancing solution in the resources and environmental protection areas—$350 million of loans from various special funds to the General Fund. We offer a number of recommendations for achieving General Fund savings beyond the Governor's proposal, including shifting funding for various programs from the General Fund to new or increased fees. Fees are an appropriate funding source in these cases, in our view, because the state is either providing a service directly to beneficiaries or administering a pollution control program that should be funded on a “polluter pays” basis. Our fee proposals relate to: (1) wildland fire protection, (2) fish and game regulation, (3) water quality regulation, and (4) scientific activities of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment that support regulatory programs. We also recommend program reductions and/or expenditure deferrals in CalFire and the CALFED Bay-Delta Program to create additional General Fund savings. In addition, we assess the administration’s approach in evaluating alternatives to the way water is currently conveyed through the Delta as a key component of solving Delta water problems. We find that the analysis being conducted by the administration is too narrow to fully inform the Legislature of the costs, benefits, risks, and trade-offs of the various conveyance alternatives.
February 22, 1994 - Analysis of the 1994-95 Budget Bill, Resources Chapter
May 5, 2021 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife Hon. Eduardo Garcia, Chair
May 13, 2021 - For the second consecutive year, the state is experiencing extremely low rates of precipitation. As we prepare for what could be an extended period of dry conditions, it is helpful to review how the state responded to the last major drought. Such information can inform—and thereby potentially improve—the state’s current and ongoing response to developing conditions. In this report, we summarize the major activities, spending, and policy actions undertaken by the state to respond to the severe drought that occurred from 2012 through 2016. We also describe current conditions, and highlight some key lessons the Legislature can learn from previous efforts to help guide its response to the emerging drought.
April 4, 2018 - This report consists of five sections. First, we review the importance of and benefits provided by California’s forests. Second, we provide information regarding how forests are managed in California, including ownership, state and federal policies and programs, and funding. Third, we review the current conditions of forests and watersheds across the state, including the concerning implications and recent consequences of those conditions, as well as the actions that would be needed to make improvements. Fourth, in the findings section, we highlight shortcomings in how the state manages its forests and watersheds. Fifth, we offer recommendations for actions the Legislature could take to improve forest and watershed management in California.
March 8, 2010 - In reviewing the Governor's budget proposal, we uncovered current actions and proposals of the administration that either circumvent the Legislature's authority, make it difficult for the Legislature to oversee the administration's spending, or limit the Legislature's flexibility in making decisions. We found that the administration is: developing new renewable energy procurement requirements that circumvent legislative policy as reflected in current state law (known as the renewables portfolio standard); using an Emergency Fund--intended to pay for large-incident wildland firefighting costs--to cover some day-to-day departmental expenditures that are more appropriately made subject to legislative budget review; proposing a somewhat similar emergency fund for flood management that would be structured to allow the administration to augment it at its discretion without notifying the Legislature; and proposing again to fund recreation activities at State Water Project facilities in a way that escapes legislative budgetary review for all the spending. Finally, we recommend rejection of the Governor’s proposal to dedicate the ongoing Tranquillon Ridge oil lease revenues to support state parks, because it limits the Legislature's future decision making.