February 12, 2020 - In this analysis, we assess the Governor’s 2020‑21 budget proposals for the Department of General Services (DGS). Specifically, we review and make recommendations regarding the Governor’s proposals for (1) additional staff for Contracted Fiscal Services (CFS) workload, including the establishment of a new strike team to assist departments performing accounting activities with the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal); (2) renovating the Resources, Bateson, and Unruh buildings, and (3) funding elevator and fire system‑related deferred maintenance projects.
February 19, 2019 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.
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.
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 26, 2019 - The Governor's budget provides a total of $23.5 billion from various fund sources for all transportation departments and programs in 2019-20. This is a net increase of $1.4 billion, or 6 percent, over estimated current-year expenditures. In this report, we (1) review the Governor's 2019-20 transportation proposals, including those for the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA), the implementation of REAL ID, and the high-speed rail project, and (2) identify issues for legislative consideration.
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.
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.
February 12, 2016 - We find the Governor’s deferred maintenance proposal addresses an important state need. However, we also find that it raises several issues for legislative consideration. Specifically, we find that it lacks critical details, fails to address the underlying causes of the state’s deferred maintenance backlog, and proposes a process for identifying deferred maintenance projects for funding that is inadequate.
February 9, 2015 - The Governor’s budget proposes $125 million from the General Fund to address deferred maintenance backlogs in state facilities managed by various departments. The budget does not identify specific projects that would be supported with the proposed funding. We find the Governor’s focus on deferred maintenance to be positive. However, we also find that the proposal lacks important details necessary to evaluate the proposed allocations to departments, and that the proposed process for allocating funds does not provide the Legislature with an adequate opportunity to review proposed deferred maintenance projects prior to passage of the budget. Additionally, the Governor’s proposal fails to identify and address the underlying causes of departments’ deferred maintenance backlogs. Accordingly, we provide recommendations to address these concerns, promote legislative oversight in this important area, and ensure that the projects that are funded align with legislative priorities.
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.
March 19, 2015 - The Department of General Services owns and maintains 58 office buildings across the state, and the current backlog of maintenance projects for these buildings totals an estimated $138 million. In this report, we identify factors that contribute to the accumulation of deferred maintenance in state buildings and make recommendations both to reduce the current backlog of maintenance projects and to address the ongoing contributing factors to the backlog.
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.
February 8, 2018 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for various transportation departments and programs. We begin by providing an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for each department and program. In the next section, we discuss two cross‑cutting state transportation issues: (1) funding from the tax and fee increases authorized by Chapter 5 of 2017 (SB 1, Beall), and (2) an update on the condition of the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA). In the following three sections, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for Caltrans, CHP, and DMV. In each of these sections, we provide relevant background, describe the proposals, assess the proposals, and identify issues and recommendations for legislative consideration. The final section consists of a summary of the recommendations we make throughout the report.
May 15, 2018 - The Governor’s May Revision includes $1.06 billion from the General Fund for deferred maintenance projects at various state departments. We recommend that the Legislature (1) adopt budget trailer legislation to create a separate account to fund one-time deferred maintenance projects in the future and (2) deposit into this account the amount of General Fund revenues it decides is consistent with its overall General Fund priorities—an amount that could be higher or lower than that proposed by the Governor. The Legislature could separately appropriate funds in 2018 19 for any projects it felt were well justified. We further recommend that the Legislature seek information from the administration regarding causes of deferred maintenance at individual departments, as well as longer-term plans to prevent deferred maintenance from continuing to accumulate.
February 27, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes a total of $17.2 billion from various fund sources for judicial and criminal justice programs in 2018‑19. This is an increase of $302 million, or 2 percent, above estimated expenditures for the current year. The budget includes General Fund support for judicial and criminal justice programs of $13.9 billion in 2018‑19, which is an increase of $270 million, or 2 percent, over the current‑year level. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.
April 11, 2014 - Due to a combination of poor budgeting practices and competing funding priorities, all of the state's education segments currently have a backlog of deferred maintenance projects. The Governor’s budget includes a package of proposals to begin addressing this backlog. While we commend the administration for highlighting deferred maintenance as a problem, we have concerns with the Governor's specific proposals and recommend the Legislature consider various alternatives. Looking beyond 2014-15, we believe the state should have a long-term strategy for properly maintaining education facilities. While a one-size-fits-all response very likely is not appropriate for such a diverse array of education segments, segment-specific plans likely could be very helpful. To this end, we recommend the Legislature require the education segments to develop plans that detail how much they set aside annually for scheduled maintenance, how they plan to eliminate their existing deferred maintenance backlogs over the next several years, and how they plan to avoid creating new backlogs thereafter. (In contrast to the other segments, we believe the state should not impose additional maintenance requirements on elementary and secondary schools at this time. The different approach for schools acknowledges the state’s recent decision to shift fiscal decision making and accountability for many aspects of schools’ operations—including maintenance—to the local level.)