LAO 2006-07 Budget Analysis: Judiciary & Criminal Justice

Analysis of the 2006-07 Budget Bill

Legislative Analyst's Office
February 2006

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 $745†million for support of DOJ in the budget year. This amount is approximately $52†million, or about 7.4†percent, above estimated current-year expenditures. The requested amount includes $387†million from the General Fund (an increase of $43†million, or 12†percent), $277†million from special funds, $39†million from federal funds, and $42†million from reimbursements.

Several Requests Lack Adequate Justification

We recommend rejection of several requests, pending receipt of additional information, and recommend shifting some costs from the General Fund to the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund. (Reduce Item 0820-001-0001 by $15†million and increase Item 0820-001-0367 by $376,000).

Budget Proposal. The Governorís budget includes numerous augmentations for DOJ, including funding and positions for law enforcement activities related to financial crimes, methamphetamine use, and street gangs. The budget also requests funds to address workload growth in the Division of Gambling Control. Our main concern with most of the requests is that the department (1) does not provide data demonstrating the need to expand existing programs and (2) does not provide workload justification to support many of the new positions it seeks to establish. We discuss our concerns regarding each of these requests below.

Conclusion. We note that all but one of the requests discussed above are expansions of existing programs at DOJ. Our recommendations would not reduce any base levels of funding; they would only reject the requests for expansion. However, we note that in some areas, it may be possible to improve program outcomes by more effectively targeting existing resources. This could include shifting staff and other resources from their current use to an activity that is a higher priority. These actions should be considered before the programs receive additional funding.

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