LAO 2005-06 Budget Analysis: General Government

Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill

Legislative Analyst's Office
February 2005

Department of Justice (0820)

Under the direction of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice (DOJ) enforces state laws, provides legal services to state and local agencies, and provides support services to local law enforcement agencies. The budget proposes total expenditures of approximately $688 million for support of the DOJ in the budget year. This amount is approximately $11 million, or about 1.6 percent, above estimated current-year expenditures. The requested amount includes $323 million from the General Fund (an increase of $3.6 million, or 1.1 percent), $278 million from special funds, $37 million from federal funds, and $51 million from reimbursements.

Equipment Overbudgeted

We recommend deleting $3.5 million from the department's budget because equipment is overbudgeted. (Reduce Item 0820-001-0001 by $3.5 million.)

Based on the equipment schedule provided by DOJ, the department's equipment spending in 2005-06 is expected to decrease by $3.5 million compared to the current year (from $12.5 million to $9 million). The department has indicated that its base budget was reduced to reflect the projected year-to-year change in equipment costs. However, at the time this analysis was prepared, neither DOJ nor the Department of Finance could provide documentation indicating that the current-year funding amount for equipment had been adjusted in the department's 2005-06 spending plan. Accordingly, we recommend reducing DOJ's budget by $3.5 million.

If this amount was redirected within DOJ's budget for other purposes, the Legislature should direct the department to report at budget hearings on the specific activities supported by the redirection so that the Legislature can evaluate the potential tradeoffs in making decisions on DOJ's budget.

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