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The 2019-20 Budget: Aligning the State’s IT Project Approval Process With the Annual Budget Process


[PDF] The 2020-21 Budget: The Governor's IT Project Proposals

February 20, 2020 - This report provides an overview of the proposed and approved IT projects in the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget. We first provide relevant background information on the state’s IT project approval process, approaches to development and implementation of projects once approved, maintenance and operation of IT systems once completed, and requirements for state government entities to request resources for projects through the budget process. We then identify and summarize the budget requests to plan proposed projects and to develop and implement projects (whether proposed or approved).


The 2017-18 Budget: The New IT Project Approval and Funding Process

February 17, 2017 - In recent years, the California Department of Technology has begun implementing a new IT project approval process—known as the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL)—with the goal of helping to bolster project planning and reducing the likelihood of project challenges or failure. Although the PAL process has the potential to improve the quality of IT project implementation in theory, we raise a number of issues for the Legislature to consider as it exercises oversight of this new process. First, the merits of providing funding for IT project planning proposals should be determined on a case-by-case basis, and we note a few issues the Legislature may want to consider when determining whether to support a request for IT project planning funds. Additionally, we identify these funding requests for PAL-related planning activities as an early opportunity for the Legislature to weigh in on the potential project. Finally, we find that the Legislature could increase its oversight of the PAL process by (1) building in additional oversight methods when approving budget requests and (2) considering an evaluation of the actual benefits of the new project approval process.


The 2017-18 Budget: California State Payroll System

February 28, 2017 - The State Controller’s Office (SCO) has recently renewed its effort to replace the state’s payroll system. In this year’s budget, the Governor proposes $3 million to begin an analysis of proposed alternatives for replacing the system. It makes sense for the state to assess the potential problems, both in terms of functionality and stability, with the state’s payroll system and to explore solutions to these problems. The appropriate selection of a project alternative will be critical to the success of the future payroll project. As such, we recommend the Legislature require the SCO to present its full findings from the alternatives analysis before it is granted additional funding for subsequent analyses. This would provide the Legislature with a clear opportunity to provide meaningful input and weigh in with its own priorities for the payroll system before a solution is procured.


[PDF] The 2018-19 Budget: Transportation Proposals

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.


The 2019-20 Budget: California Student Aid Commission's Grant Delivery System Modernization Project

April 24, 2019 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposal to provide $6.2 million for the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to continue its Grant Delivery System Modernization project. Below, we (1) provide background on the project and the state’s information technology (IT) oversight process, (2) describe the Governor’s proposal to fund the second year of the project, (3) assess that proposal, and (4) make an associated recommendation.


The 2018-19 Budget: Grant Delivery System Replacement

March 6, 2018 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposal to provide $7.4 million in 2018-19 for the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to contract for a new Grant Delivery System. Below, we first provide background on the Grant Delivery System. We then describe and assess the Governor’s proposal and offer associated recommendations.


The 2016-17 Budget: Child Welfare Services--New System

February 25, 2016 - In this post, we provide a brief description of the CWS-NS information technology project; discuss recent changes to the project’s implementation approach; describe the Governor’s 2016-17 budget proposal for expenditure authority and various staff changes to assist with planning and procurement activities and to prepare for the design, development, and implementation phase of the project; and recommend approval of the Governor’s budget proposal, with our recommended updates to a reporting requirement.


[PDF] The Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal)

June 27, 2019 - Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review and Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation


FI$Cal IT Project Update—Special Project Report 8

January 8, 2020 - This report analyzes how the most recent project plan for the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) information technology (IT) project—that has been under development since 2005—changes the project's cost, scope, and schedule. We also discuss what work is anticipated to remain even after the project is deemed by the administration to be "complete." Lastly, we make associated findings and recommendations.


The 2019-20 Budget: California Spending Plan—Other Provisions

October 17, 2019 - The 2019-20 budget included significant augmentations and statutory changes in various other programs, including to support emergency services, the regulation of cannabis and alcoholic beverages, and construction and maintenance of state infrastructure.


The 2020-21 Budget: Transportation

February 10, 2020 - This report reviews the Governor's 2020-21 budget proposals for the state's transportation departments and programs.


The 2018-19 Budget: The May Revision—California State Payroll System

May 14, 2018 - The 2018-19 May Revision proposes multiyear funding related to the California State Payroll System (CSPS). In this post, we describe and comment on the proposal. We also discuss how the rationale for the payroll system has evolved.


The 2019-20 Budget: Creating an Integrated Education Data System

May 6, 2019 - In this brief, we provide (1) background on the state’s education data systems and past efforts to connect them, (2) describe the Governor’s proposal to develop an integrated education data system, (3) assess the proposal, and (4) make associated recommendations.


The 2017-18 Budget: Judicial Branch

February 14, 2017 -

In this web post, we provide an overview of the judicial branch and the level of funding proposed in the Governor’s 2017-18 budget. We also assess and make recommendations on two specific judicial branch proposals. The first proposal consists of a $4.1 million augmentation to replace case management systems in nine trial courts. The second proposal consists of a $842,000 augmentation to support various court interpreter-related activities, including a video remote interpreting pilot.