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December 2, 2015 - On November 18th, we released the 21st annual edition of our Fiscal Outlook, which projects California’s state budget condition through 2019-20 under a few different economic scenarios. This note provides the calculations and assumptions underlying the report’s estimates on Proposition 2 (2014), which changed the state’s budgeting practices concerning reserves and debt payments. Specifically, this note provides a high-level overview of our estimates of Proposition 2’s debt and reserve requirements in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
December 1, 2015 - Conference Committee on SB X2 2 and AB X2 1, Second Extraordinary Session
November 18, 2015 - Our Fiscal Outlook publication today discusses various near-term budget risks for the state related to pensions and retiree health. (See pages 43-45 of the pdf version of the report.) This note is an addendum to the Fiscal Outlook to reflect some recent developments concerning the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).
November 18, 2015 - California's state budget is better prepared for an economic downturn than it has been at any point in decades. Under the main economic scenario in this year's LAO Fiscal Outlook, 2016-17 would end with reserves of $11.5 billion, assuming the state makes no new budget commitments through next year. If the economy continues to grow through 2019-20, annual operating surpluses and larger reserves could materialize, and there may be capacity for some new budget commitments—whether spending increases or tax reductions. An economic or stock market downturn, however, could occur during our outlook period. To illustrate this economic uncertainty, we provide projections under alternative scenarios such as a hypothetical recession that causes budget deficits to re-emerge. The more new budget commitments are made in 2016-17, the more likely it is that the state would face difficult choices—such as spending cuts and tax increases—later.
November 16, 2015 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife and Select Committee on Urban Rivers and Streams
November 16, 2015 - This infographic presents information about the current state budget (2015-16) and compares the level of spending and revenues assumed in the current budget to historical levels since 1950-51. As a share of personal income—one broad measure of the size of the California economy—state spending has been relatively flat since the late 1970s. Spending on health and human services and corrections programs has generally increased over the period, while spending on higher education and transportation programs has generally decreased. Since 1950-51, the personal income tax has replaced the sales and use tax as the predominant source of General Fund revenue.
November 1, 2015 - What Are California’s Major School Readiness Programs? This is one of a series of issue briefs examining important questions about education funding in California.
October 19, 2015 - Each year, the Legislative Analyst's Office publishes its Spending Plan publication to summarize the state's annual budget. Passed in June 2015, with various amendments later during the year's legislative session, the state's 2015-16 spending plan includes a large increase in funding for schools and community colleges. The budget makes augmentations to child care and preschool, higher education, and various health and human services programs. The plan also creates a new state earned income tax credit to increase the after-tax income of low-income workers.
October 19, 2015 - At key times during the state’s budget cycle, we post tables containing important information about the education parts of the budget. Specifically, we post tables in January, May, and October. The January tables generally reflect the Governor’s Budget proposal, the May tables reflect the Governor’s May Revision, and the October tables reflect the final enacted budget. The tables currently highlighted are for the state’s enacted 2015-16 budget. The tables cover all areas of education, with tables on K-12 education, adult and workforce education, community colleges, universities, financial aid, child care and preschool.
October 16, 2015 - Presented to: Conference Committee on SBX1 4 and ABX1 3
October 13, 2015 - Earlier this year, California submitted a proposal to renew its Section 1115 waiver, which is due to expire at the end of October. The state is currently negotiating with the federal government over the terms and conditions of this waiver renewal. In this post, we examine key issues and concerns related to the availability of federal funding for California’s proposal. The post provides a primer on how Section 1115 waivers are generally financed, an overview of California’s proposal, and a discussion of the challenges the proposal faces within that financing structure.
October 9, 2015 - This is the first in a series of policy posts on upcoming changes in Medi-Cal and the fiscal and policy uncertainty the changes create. In this post, we briefly highlight four upcoming major changes: (1) the renewal of the state’s Section 1115 waiver, (2) proposed modifications to the federal government’s regulations for Medicaid managed care plans, (3) the phase-in of state’s share of cost for the Affordable Care Act’s optional expansion population, and (4) the need to restructure the managed care organization tax to meet federal requirements. In the coming weeks and months, we will provide more detail and updates on these changes and their potential implications for the Medi-Cal program and the state’s budget in future policy posts similar to this one and in budget analyses.
September 22, 2015 - We discuss (1) the purpose of the administration's triennial cap-and-trade Investment Plan, (2) limitations of the administration's recently released Investment Plan concept paper, and (3) several key questions we believe the administration should consider as it further develops the Investment Plan that could result in better information about the potential benefits, tradeoffs, and risks associated with different funding choices.