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The 2018-19 Budget: California Spending Plan (Final Version)


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The 2021-22 Budget: UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

February 26, 2021 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposals relating to base funding for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) at the University of California (UC). We first provide background on ANR’s operations and budget. Next, we describe the Governor’s ANR proposals and the additional ANR funding included in the February early action package. We then offer our assessment of the proposals and make associated recommendations.

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The 2018-19 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 15, 2018 -

In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. We begin by providing an overview of higher education in California. In the next four sections, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for the three public higher education segments and the California Student Aid Commission. In each of these sections, we provide relevant background, describe and assess the proposals, and make associated recommendations. The final section of the report consists of a summary of our recommendations.

In addition to this report, we have three other higher education budget briefs that analyze the Governor’s proposals for adult education, Hastings College of the Law, and the California Education Learning Lab.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Analyzing UC and CSU Cost Pressures

December 18, 2019 - California operates two public university systems: (1) the University of California (UC), consisting of 10 campuses, and (2) the California State University (CSU), consisting of 23 campuses. The Legislature faces many pressures to increase funding for UC and CSU in 2020‑21. This report examines these university cost pressures, assesses the state’s capacity to fund some of them, and identifies options for expanding budget capacity to fund additional cost pressures.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 21, 2019 - In this report, we analyze the Governor's higher education budget proposals.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 20, 2020 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. Similar to last year, these proposals are wide ranging—including large base increases; targeted increases for apprenticeship programs and food pantries; one-time initiatives relating to extended education programs, work-based learning, faculty diversity, and animal shelters; and many facility projects.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Hastings College of the Law

April 24, 2019 - In this brief, we provide background on the Hastings College of the Law, then describe the Governor’s proposed budget for the law school and the school’s proposed spending plan. Next, we provide our assessment of Hastings’ budget and offer associated recommendations.

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The 2018-19 Budget: Hastings College of the Law

February 15, 2018 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for Hastings College of the Law, describe the school’s proposed spending plan, assess that plan, and offer an associated recommendation.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Hastings College of the Law

February 22, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor's proposal to provide the Hastings College of the Law a General Fund base increase in 2021-22.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Overview of the California Spending Plan (Final Version)

October 17, 2019 - Each year, our office publishes California Spending Plan, which summarizes the annual state budget. In July, we published a preliminary version of the report. This, the final version, provides an overview of the 2019‑20 Budget Act, then highlights major features of the budget approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. In addition to this publication, we have released a series of issue‑specific, online posts that give more detail on the major actions in the budget package.

Correction (10/29/19): Figure 4 total.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Student Food and Housing Insecurity at the University of California

April 25, 2019 - The Governor proposes to provide the University of California (UC) with ongoing funding to address student food and housing insecurity. UC indicates it would use the proposed funds either to augment student financial aid or support specific food and housing initiatives. In this brief, we provide background, then describe the Governor’s proposal. Next, we offer issues to consider and provide associated recommendations.

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The 2018-19 Budget: Overview of the Governor's Budget

January 12, 2018 - This publication is our office’s initial response to the Governor’s 2018-19 budget. In the proposed plan, the Governor places a high priority on building reserves, proposing a total reserve balance of nearly $16 billion. We believe the Governor’s continued focus on building more reserves is prudent in light of economic and federal budget uncertainty. In addition to building reserves, the Governor’s proposed budget allocates sizeable funding increases available within the constitutionally required guarantee for schools and community colleges and supports a variety of new infrastructure projects. This report also discusses how new federal tax changes may affect state revenues and reasons why we believe there could be more resources available in May.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Analysis of the Major University Proposals

February 1, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor’s major budget proposals for the universities, covering base funding, enrollment, students’ basic needs, faculty professional development, and deferred maintenance.

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California Public Higher Education: Funding Supplemental Services for Low-Income and First-Generation Students

December 20, 2017 - The Supplemental Report of the 2017-18 Budget Act required our office to examine how much existing funding and support is provided to these students and identify options for increasing that funding and support. This report fulfills this requirement.

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The 2021-22 Budget: University Capital Outlay

March 5, 2021 - In this post, we focus on university capital outlay projects. We first provide background on university capital financing and project review. We then review capital outlay proposals for the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC). Next, we raise some concerns with the previously authorized UC Merced medical school project and make an associated recommendation. We end the post by offering several other recommendations intended to strengthen legislative oversight of university projects.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Overview of the Governor's Budget

January 14, 2019 - This report presents our office’s initial assessment of the Governor’s Budget. The budget’s position continues to be positive. With $20.6 billion in discretionary resources available, the Governor’s budget proposal reflects a budget situation that is even better than the one our office estimated in the November Fiscal Outlook. The Governor’s Budget allocates nearly half of these discretionary resources to repaying state liabilities. Then, the Governor allocates $5.1 billion to one-time programmatic spending, $3 billion to reserves, and $2.7 billion to ongoing spending. Although the Governor’s allocation to discretionary reserves represents a smaller share of resources than recent budgets, the Governor’s decision to use a significant share of resources to pay down state debts is prudent. The Governor’s ongoing spending proposal is roughly in line with our November estimate of the ongoing capacity of the budget under an economic growth scenario. This was just one scenario, however. Recent financial market volatility indicates revenues could be somewhat lower than either we or the administration estimated.