January 8, 2009 - The Governor’s budget framework makes a good faith effort to close a colossal $40 billion budget gap. The Legislature, however, can improve the plan by making further use of the ballot, adopting more strategic programmatic reductions and revenue increases, and reducing the reliance on borrowing. There are no easy paths to solving the crisis. But it is urgent that the Legislature and Governor act immediately to address a budgetary and cash situation that has the state on the edge of fiscal disaster
January 14, 2013 - The Governor’s proposed budget reflects the significant improvement in the state’s finances that our office identified in November. The state has now reached a point where its underlying expenditures and revenues are roughly in balance, meaning that—under our and the administration’s fiscal forecasts—state-supported program and service levels established in 2012-13 will generally continue “as is” in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Because there are still considerable risks to revenue estimates given uncertainty surrounding federal fiscal policy and the volatility inherent in our revenue system, the Governor’s focus on fiscal restraint and paying off debts is appropriate. The budget contains major proposals in education, including a new formula for funding schools and additional resources for the public university systems, and presents alternatives for implementing the federal health care reform law.
January 14, 2008 - The Governor has put forward an aggressive agenda for the special session and the 2008–09 budget. The Legislature should focus first on those areas where time is of the essence—where early decisions will allow state programs to achieve desired savings in the current year. The special session should also be used to lay the groundwork for achieving budget–year savings—for instance, by developing any program restructurings and taking any necessary actions on the current–year Proposition 98 minimum guarantee. In contrast to the Governor’s approach of across–the–board reductions, in our view the Legislature should (1) eliminate or further reduce low–priority programs in order to minimize the impact on higher priority programs and (2) examine additional revenue options as part of a more balanced approach. Making tough choices now will allow the state to move closer to bringing its long–term spending and revenues into alignment.