LAO 2004-05 Budget Analysis: General Government

Analysis of the 2004-05 Budget Bill

Legislative Analyst's Office
February 2004

Department of the Youth Authority (5460)

The Department of the Youth Authority currently operates ten institutions throughout the state, but it is in the process of closing various institutions and camps in response to legislative direction. The department also houses wards at four conservation camps operated by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Around 4,500 youthful offenders (wards) are currently housed in Youth Authority institutions, down from over 10,000 in 1996. The population is expected to decline to about 3,700 in 2006-07.

The budget includes $2.75 million from the General Fund for the following capital outlay purposes:

We have no issues with either of these requests. Below, we discuss the 2003 infrastructure plan for the department, and raise two other issues.

Infrastructure Plan

In the 2003 California Five Year Infrastructure Plan, the department identified a need for $244 million of capital outlay between 2003-04 and 2007-08, including:

Figure 1

Department of the Youth Authority
2003 Infrastructure Plan

(In Thousands)








Needs Identified by Department

Critical infrastructure













Program delivery changes







Workload space deficiencies











Projects Scheduled for Funding

Critical infrastructure







Program delivery changes










General Fund







Lease-revenue bonds







Approved in 2003-04 and Proposed in 2004-05

General Fund





Required Reports Have Not Been Submitted

We recommend the Legislature defer action on the Youth Authority's 2004-05 capital outlay budget until two required reports and a complete set of the department's facility standards are made available for legislative review.

The Supplemental Report of the 2003-04 Budget Act directed the Youth Authority to prepare and submit two reports to the Legislature by November 1, 2003. These reports are: 

Neither of these reports has been submitted as of yet. We recommend the Legislature withhold action on the department's capital outlay budget until these reports have been submitted and reviewed.

Use of Planning Monies to Fund Preliminary Plans

We recommend the Legislature delete budget bill language that allows the department to use funds appropriated for budget packages and advance planning for preparation of project preliminary plans.

Item 5460-301-0001(1) of the 2004-05 Budget Act appropriates $250,000 to the department for "Pre-Schematic/Master Planning Budget Packages and Advanced Planning." Provision 1 of that item provides that these funds may be used for "budget package development, architectural programming, engineering assessments, schematic design, and preliminary plans." This same provision has been included in prior budget acts as well.

With one exception, we believe that all of these services may be needed to provide the administration and the Legislature with sufficient information to make informed decisions about funding a project. The exception involves preliminary plans. Funding the preparation of preliminary plans constitutes a commitment to proceed with a project. Permitting these planning funds to be used for preparation of preliminary plans allows the administration to make a commitment to a project without it first being subjected to legislative consideration. It puts the Legislature in the position of being asked to fund working drawings and construction of a facility that it has not had an opportunity to review.

In order to maintain the Legislature's options when considering capital outlay proposals, we recommend that Provision 1 of Item 5460-301-0001 of the budget bill be amended to delete authorization for funds appropriated under Schedule (1) to be expended for preparation of preliminary plans.

Return to Capital Outlay Table of Contents, 2004-05 Budget Analysis