February 18, 2015 - The Governor's budget includes $7.8 billion in Proposition 98 funding increases for schools and community colleges, including $5 billion for programmatic increases and $2.8 billion for retiring outstanding obligations. In this report, we recommend the Legislature improve some of the Governor's specific Proposition 98 proposals and reject others. Most notably, though we recommend the Legislature adopt the Governor's proposal to provide $500 million for adult education consortia, we recommend making various programmatic improvements, folding some of the Governor's other proposed workforce funding into the adult education program, and rejecting a couple of the Governor's career technical education proposals. We also recommend rethinking the Governor's Internet infrastructure proposal. Additionally, we have various recommendations relating to the Local Control Funding Formula, county offices of education, and education mandates.
April 13, 2018 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s eight California State Library budget proposals totaling $9.7 million in associated augmentations. We begin the post by providing an overview of the State Library and its budget. We then describe and assess the Governor’s proposals and offer associated recommendations.
August 25, 2011 - California’s infrastructure includes a diverse array of capital facilities across many program areas. Additionally, the state provides funding for local public infrastructure such as K-12 schools and local streets and roads. Over the last decade, infrastructure costs have taken up a larger share of the state’s budget, yet the state’s infrastructure demands continue to grow. In this report, we summarize the state’s infrastructure spending and provide ideas for planning and funding future infrastructure. Specifically, we recommend that the Legislature establish a more coordinated process for financing infrastructure. Throughout the report, we also highlight ways the state could manage infrastructure to reduce state costs such as prioritizing the state’s infrastructure investments to the most critical and appropriate programs, adopting strategies to reduce infrastructure demand, and identifying additional revenue to support infrastructure.
February 17, 2000 - Perspectives on the state's fiscal condition and the budget proposed by the Governor for 2000-01.
March 27, 2014 - In this report, we assess the Governor's proposal to provide state funds for the California State Library to contract with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) in an effort to increase Internet speeds at local libraries. We find that the Governor’s plan is unlikely to increase speeds at many libraries and lacks adequate cost information. We recommend the Legislature reject the Governor’s proposal and instead focus on improving existing state programs designed to increase Internet speeds for libraries as well as other entities.
December 19, 2012 - California currently maintains over a dozen major programs that are intended to support the development of energy efficiency and alternative energy in the state. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the state has spent a combined total of roughly $15 billion on such efforts. In response to the Supplemental Report of the 2012-13 Budget Package, this report provides an overview of these different programs, as well as a preliminary assessment of them in terms of priority, overlap, and redundancy. We find that the state currently lacks a comprehensive framework that fully coordinates the state's energy incentive programs to help ensure that the state’s goals are being achieved in the most cost-effective manner. The absence of such a comprehensive framework (1) results in some level of program duplication, (2) results in some departments making policy choices that may not be aligned to legislative priorities, and (3) makes it difficult to compare effectiveness across programs. As a result, we recommend that the Legislature develop a comprehensive strategy for meeting the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy objectives. In general, the comprehensive strategy should specify: (1) the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy goals, (2) how programs should fit together to achieve the state’s goals, and (3) how program effectiveness will be measured.
November 5, 2020 - This post provides a high-level summary of state and federal funds provided to date to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this post we discuss: (1) the authorities, at both the state and federal levels, for COVID-19 spending; (2) the state, federal, and other funding sources for COVID-19 spending; and (3) the amounts of COVID-19 spending authorized so far, organized by different purposes and program areas.
Updated 11/12/20: State and federal government spending on certain activities to control the spread of COVID-19 revised upward to $8.6 billion.
January 29, 2021 - In this post, we provide background on school closures and recent funding to address learning loss, describe the Governor’s proposal to allocate $4.6 billion to schools in spring 2021 to address student learning loss caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, assess the proposal, and describe our recommendations to the Legislature.
February 17, 2000 - Major Expenditure Proposals in the 2000-01 Budget
May 17, 2000 - The May Revision has many positive elements, including significant new funds for infrastructure (primarily one-time) and education. It also preserves the state's future fiscal flexibility by avoiding excessive ongoing commitments. The revision, however, has many proposals which lack specificity and/or delegate too much authority to the administration. It also misses opportunities to provide ongoing funding for infrastructure and state-local finance reform.
May 7, 2014 - This report categorizes and provides information about $340 billion in California's key retirement, infrastructure, and budgetary liabilities. In addition, this report provides a framework for the Legislature to consider in prioritizing repayment of these liabilities and makes recommendations on which liabilities to pay down first and how the state could address such costs in the future. In general, we suggest that the Legislature prioritize actions to pay down those liabilities (1) with relatively high interest rates or (2) that result in benefits for groups or entities other than the state government. Due to its massive unfunded liability and relatively high growth rate, we recommend that the Legislature make a full funding plan for the California State Teachers' Retirement System a top priority in addressing the state's key liabilities.
March 22, 2017 - This report is intended to provide basic information about floods and flood management in California. (Whereas previous generations referred to “flood control” or “flood prevention” activities, experts now prefer the term “flood management” in acknowledgement that floodwaters are recurring and inevitable.) We begin by summarizing the history, causes, and risk of floods across the state. We then describe flood management agencies, infrastructure, and strategies, as well as how governmental agencies typically respond when floods occur. Next, we describe the spending levels and funding sources currently supporting flood management efforts, as well as estimates for how much additional funding may be needed to improve those efforts. We conclude by highlighting some key challenges confronting the state in contemplating how best to manage floods in California.
February 16, 1999 - Major Expenditure Proposals in the 1999-00 Budget
March 10, 2009 - The recently enacted federal economic stimulus package commits a total of $787 billion nationwide. We estimate that California will receive over $31 billion in monies that can be used to address budget shortfalls and supplement existing state spending and billions more in competitive grants. The recently enacted state 2009-10 budget specifies that if the amount available to address the state's budgetary problems is less than $10 billion, then annual state program reductions of nearly $1 billion and revenue increases of about $1.8 billion will go into effect. Based on the enacted state 2009-10 budget we estimate that $8 billion would be available. Given the state’s continuing economic struggles, however, it may be possible to use additional federal education dollars for budgetary relief. We identify key issues that the Legislature should consider in making decision regarding these new federal funds, including ways to maximize their benefit to the state General Fund and to provide appropriate oversight on the use of the federal monies.
February 22, 2005 - The Legislature has an important budget opportunity. We project that revenues are $2.2 billion higher (for the current and budget years combined) than reflected in the Governor's budget. This, combined with the magnitude of ongoing solutions proposed in the budget plan, would result in a balanced 2005-06 budget with a solid reserve. However, the price of inaction is significant. Without the adoption of ongoing solutions of the magnitude offered by the budget plan, the 2005-06 budget would be precariously balanced and the state would experience major budget shortfalls in 2006-07 and beyond. These shortfalls would be close to $10 billion.