March 8, 2018 - The decennial census enumerates each person in the United States. The results of the census apportion seats in the House of Representatives, guide legislative redistricting, and form the basis for allocating half-a-trillion dollars in federal assistance annually. The Census Bureau is making a number of significant changes to the 2020 Census. The Governor proposes providing $40 million for outreach to encourage Californians to complete the census. Given the major changes to the upcoming census—and the potential impacts to state funding—preparing for a significant outreach campaign can be in the state’s fiscal interest.
March 23, 2017 - The Governor proposes $7 million in incentive grants for local governments to participate in the Census Bureau's Local Update Address Program in preparation for the 2020 Census. This post describes the upcoming U.S. Census and considerations for the Legislature in ensuring an accurate count.
July 15, 1999 - We discuss the controversy surrounding plans to supplement the traditional population headcount in the 2000 federal census with estimates derived from statistical sampling techniques. We also revisit the cost to California resulting from undercounting in the 1990 federal census.
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.
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.
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.
April 3, 2019 - The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC's) LifeLine program provides free or discounted phone service to about 1.7 million households and has an annual budget of more than $350 million. The Supplemental Report of the 2018-19 Budget Act requires our office to (1) review the caseload and budget estimates for this program and make recommendations about how CPUC could improve the accuracy of its estimates and (2) assess and make recommendations about ways to improve enrollment and re-enrollment in the program. This report fulfills those requirements.
February 20, 2019 - As part of the 2019‑20 Governor’s Budget, the administration proposes changing state oversight of local housing decisions and proposes offering rewards to cities and counties to encourage them to plan for and approve housing. To help the Legislature in its consideration of the Governor’s proposals, this report: (1) explains the existing process through which local communities plan for housing, as well as its limitations and shortfalls; (2) describes the Governor’s proposal; (3) provides recommendations on the parts of the proposal aimed at increasing home building in the short term; and (4) offers a package of changes to improve the state’s existing long‑term planning process for housing.
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.
February 25, 2019 - In this report, we evaluate the Governor's budget proposals for the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The proposed 2019-20 DDS budget is projected to reach $7.8 billion ($4.8 billion General Fund), with the caseload of individuals with developmental disabilities served mostly in community-based programs projected to reach nearly 350,000. The total increase in spending is offset somewhat by declining spending on general treatment Developmental Centers, which are scheduled to close by the end of 2019. The Governor's budget proposes to reorganize DDS, based in part on these closures as well as on DDS’ evolving responsibilities as it serves individuals in community settings and adjusts to meeting related upcoming federal requirements that significantly impact the service delivery model. The budget also proposes enhancement of "safety net" and crisis services for individuals in crisis and at risk of displacement from their regular homes or needing temporary residential placements.
Correction (3/6/19): Safety net and crisis home capacity numbers have been updated in Figure 4.
February 14, 2019 - In this report, we assess several of the Governor’s budget proposals in the natural resources and environmental protection areas. Based on our review, we recommend various changes, as well as additional legislative oversight. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.
February 20, 2019 - In this report, we describe the Governor’s proposed $1.75 billion appropriation for various programs aimed at improving the affordability of housing in the state. Specifically, the Governor proposes (1) providing planning and production grants to local governments, (2) expanding the state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, (3) establishing a new state housing tax credit program targeting relatively higher-income households, and (4) expanding a loan program for middle-income housing production.
March 1, 2019 - The state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP)—administered by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), in coordination with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)—provides funding to infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects that facilitate travelers being physically active through biking and walking. Some of the primary goals of the program include increasing the number of walking and biking trips, increasing safety and mobility, and enhancing public health. In approving the 2018-19 budget package, the Legislature directed our office to review certain aspects of the program.
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.