December 15, 1999 - Nationally, over 40 percent of married couples currently incur the marriage penalty, which averages about $1,400 per couple. However, even more couples--over 50 percent--receive federal marriage bonuses, totaling several billion dollars more than the marriage penalties. While the likelihood of Californians facing federal marriage penalties is less than nationally, Californians pay a disproportionately large share of such penalties.
January 31, 2011 - For four of its budget proposals, the administration uses a new approach for accruing (attributing) revenues to each fiscal year. In the administration's budget figures, this approach increases revenues available for the 2011-12 budget process by over $700 million and decreases the 2011-12 minimum funding guarantee for schools and community colleges by $1.5 billion below what it would have been otherwise. We find that the administration's new accrual approach—while imperfectly executed in its forecast—has some merit. It would move state budget accounting closer—in some respects—to generally accepted accounting principles. We fault the administration for not describing the new approach and its implications more clearly in its public budget documents and recommend that the Legislature take steps to require more transparency in the future.
April 7, 2016 - The Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit (“child care tax credit” or “credit”) is a provision of the state income tax code that allows filers with income below $100,000 to reduce their tax liability by a percentage of their eligible child care expenses. The 2015–16 Budget Act required our office to prepare a report providing options to extend the credit to low– and middle–income families not currently receiving child care subsidies. This report provides an analysis of the costs, benefits, and trade–offs associated with these options.
December 18, 2014 - In June 2014, the Legislature directed the LAO to prepare a report analyzing the costs, benefits, and trade-offs of various options for a state earned income tax credit (EITC) that would supplement the federal credit. This report discusses considerations for adopting a state EITC and provides three options for the Legislature's consideration.
June 6, 1990 - This document provides a review of 14 revenue options that could be put into effect for the 1990-91 fiscal year. It was prepared at the request of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, in order to assist the Committee's review of its fiscal choices for the 1990-91 Budget.
October 5, 2020 - The 2020‑21 budget package included several tax policy changes. Overall, the budget package assumes these changes will result in a net revenue increase of about $4 billion in 2020‑21. Starting in 2023‑24, the net effect of these changes are expected to reduce revenues below what they otherwise would have been.
January 30, 2009 - In this report, we identify issues and present recommendations related to the General Government portion of the budget. These include our belief that employee compensation reductions proposed by the Governor are necessary due to the magnitude of the budget problem. Nevertheless, we observe that the administration’s plans—especially savings from the furlough-will be difficult to achieve. We also note that due to the sagging economy and falling energy prices in recent months, our forecast for inflation is much lower than that used in the Governor's budget plan. Therefore we recommend the Legislature reject the price increase and direct departments to absorb any increases in operating expenses.
February 21, 2007 - Following two years of major increases, it appears that revenue growth is slowing sharply in 2006-07, reflecting the impacts of a more moderate economic expansion and a dip in income from capital gains. The budget assumes that revenue growth will revive somewhat in 2007-08, led by an improving economy beginning later this year. For the current and budget years combined, we are estimating that General Fund revenues will fall below the budget forecast by $2 billion.
February 19, 1997 - Perspectives on State Revenues 1997-98
September 28, 2017 - For many years, personal income tax (PIT) volatility has complicated budgetary planning. This report analyzes the causes of PIT volatility. We find that about 40 percent of PIT volatility is due to choices about which types of income to tax, another 40 percent is due to the progressive rate structure, and the last 20 percent is due to deductions and credits. The Legislature could choose to make the tax less volatile, but actions to reduce volatility could reduce future growth of state tax revenues.
March 6, 2019 - The 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made significant changes to federal tax laws. Generally, the federal tax changes reduced tax rates and broadened the tax base (what is subject to tax). Because the state’s income tax laws closely refer to large portions of federal law, many of those changes created new differences between federal and state taxes. State law currently does not adopt—or conform to—any of the federal changes made in 2017. This report assesses the arguments for and against conforming to ten of those major changes. (Five of these conformity provisions are included in the Governor's proposal.)
February 20, 2008 - 2008-09 Budget: Perspectives and Issues
June 11, 2009 - New federal tax credit provisions allow the state to tap potentially hundreds of millions of new federal dollars for higher education. Because these tax credits will fully reimburse most California Community College (CCC) students for the fees they pay, the state could raise those fees (and revenue for CCC) with no net impact on most students. The purpose of this brief is to provide additional information—in a question-and-answer format—related to our recommendation.