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Rethinking the 1991 Realignment


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The 2017-18 Budget: The Coordinated Care Initiative: A Critical Juncture

February 27, 2017 - In this report we provide (1) background on the health care and Long‑Term Services and Supports (LTSS) issues that the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) was intended to address, (2) an update on the CCI’s results and challenges to date, (3) an assessment of the Governor’s elimination of the CCI and budget proposal to extend certain CCI components, and (4) options for the Legislature on how to move forward. As ending the In‑Home Supportive Services (IHSS) has major, and rather complex, implications for 1991 realignment, we include a technical appendix at the end of this report that provides an in‑depth analysis of these implications.

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The 2017-18 Budget: The Governor's May Revision In-Home Supportive Services Cost-Sharing Proposal

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.

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The 2018-19 Budget: Analysis of the Health and Human Services Budget

February 16, 2018 - In this report we provide a broad overview of the Governor's health and human services budget, highlighting major year-over-year changes. We then provide a more in-depth analysis of select programmatic areas.

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[PDF] The 2017-18 Budget: California Spending Plan

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.

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[PDF] 2011 Realignment: Addressing Issues to Promote Its Long-Term Success

August 19, 2011 - As part of the 2011-12 budget plan, the Legislature enacted a major shift—or “realignment”—of state program responsibilities and revenues to local governments. In total, the realignment plan provides $6.3 billion to local governments to fund various criminal justice, mental health, and social services programs in 2011-12, and ongoing funds for these programs annually thereafter. We recommend the Legislature address a few pressing implementation issues before this legislative session ends. We also identify a series of more extensive issues that we recommend the Legislature address in early 2012, such as developing local funding formulas with an eye towards the long term, promoting local accountability, and simplifying the plan’s extensive network of accounts and subaccounts.

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Realignment Revisited: An Evaluation of the 1991 Experiment In State-County Relations

February 6, 2001 - Realignment, enacted in 1991, transferred various mental health, health, and social services programs from the state to county control. It also altered program cost-sharing ratios, and provided counties with dedicated tax revenues to pay for these changes. Although realignment has been largely successful, we recommend implementation of several changes including a simplified allocation structure for new revenues that relies on a single formula.

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Fiscal Outlook: In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

November 14, 2018 - In this web post we discuss our near- and long-term costs projections for the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program and significant cost drivers and savings.

In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.

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The 2019-20 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook

November 14, 2018 -

The budget is in remarkably good shape. Under our estimates of revenues and spending, the state’s constitutional reserve would reach $14.5 billion by the end of 2019-20. In addition, we project the Legislature will have nearly $15 billion in resources available to allocate in the 2019-20 budget process. The Legislature can use these funds to build more reserves or make new one-time and/or ongoing budget commitments.

The longer-term outlook for the state also is positive. Under our economic growth scenario, the state would have operating surpluses averaging around $4.5 billion per year (but declining over time). Under our recession scenario, the state would have enough reserves to cover a budget problem—provided the Legislature used all of the available resources in 2019-20 to build more reserves.

Along with the Fiscal Outlook, you can find a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.

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[PDF] The Budget Package: 2011-12 California Spending Plan

August 11, 2011 - The 2011–12 state spending plan includes total budget expenditures of $120.1 billion from the General Fund and special funds. This consists of $85.9 billion from the General Fund and $34.1 billion from special funds. While General Fund spending has dropped by around 6 percent from 2010–11, this has, in part, been offset by increases in special fund spending as the state shifts some programs—from state to local responsibility under what has been called "realignment"—from General Fund support to special fund support. Federal funds spending continues to decline with the expiration of much of the funding made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Building Reserves to Prepare for a Recession

March 7, 2018 - Reserves are of critical importance to the health of the state's budget. These funds help cushion the impact of a budget problem that emerges during a recession. In this report, our office provides an overview of revenue losses that have occurred in past recessions to consider the magnitude of a budget problem that could emerge in the future. Then, we describe the Governor's reserve proposal for 2018-19 and compare this level to past reserves and other states. Next, to aid the Legislature as it evaluates the Governor’s proposal, we present a framework that the Legislature can use to plan for a recession and determine a target level of reserves. Finally, we conclude with our office’s comments on the Governor’s proposed level of reserves in light of this framework and present some alternatives for legislative consideration.

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[PDF] The 1992-93 Budget: Perspectives and Issues

February 1, 1992 - The outlook for the 1992-93 budget is dominated by the continued poor performance of the state and national economies. Even if recovery from the recession is now underway, as anticipated by the 1992-93 Governor’s Budget, state revenues will not be sufficient to both pay off the accumulated budget deficits and fund state services at current levels. Further delays in the timing of the state’s recovery will compound the problem faced by the Legislature in crafting a budget for 1992-93. The Governor’s Budget realistically addresses only a portion of the state’s budget problem. Although it would make some significant reductions in major state programs, it relies upon optimistic assumptions as to the availability of federal and other funds to bring the budget into balance, and does not offer an adequate reserve fund to protect the budget against unanticipated changes.

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[PDF] The 2016-17 Budget: Analysis of the Human Services Budget

February 11, 2016 - We review the Governor's 2016-17 budget proposals for (1) the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) program, (2) In-Home Supportive Services, (3) California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), and (4) Foster Care. Further, we provide the Legislature with key issues to consider when evaluating the Governor's budget proposals.