Posts Tagged: Legislative Analyst’s Office

Analysis

Some surprises in the handling of this year’s budget

California 's state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Steven Frame, via Shutterstock)

ANALYSIS: For someone who is interested in the activities of the California Legislature and tracks the budget closely, the last two legislative sessions have brought some interesting developments, as well as a recognition of the tremendous work that legislators, staff, and the governor’s administration put into crafting the state’s spending plan each year.

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Forty-two years later, the ghost of Prop. 13 haunts voters

An aerial view of a neighborhood in Fremont, California. (Photo: Sundry Photography, via Shutterstock)

Once again, Californians are being asked to decide on the merits of a ballot measure that roiled the political scene when many of them were in grammar  school — or not even born yet. The ballot measure under challenge is Proposition 13, a constitutional amendment written by anti-tax crusader Howard Jarvis and approved nearly 2-to-1 by voters in 1978.

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LAO: Coastal areas should begin preparing for sea level rise

A seaside condominium complex in Monterey, facing a rising sea level. (Photo: Steve Smith, Shutterstock)

California’s coast could experience sea level rise (SLR) ranging from about half of 1 foot by 2030 up to about 7 feet by 2100. Periodic events like storms and high tides will produce even higher water levels and increase the risk of flooding. Rising seas will also erode coastal cliffs, dunes, and beaches which will affect shorefront structures and recreation.

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California fights fires amid COVID-19 and a tight budget

A man watches the 2018 Woolsey fire in Los Angeles. (Photo: BrittanyNY, via Shutterstock)

Strapped California, facing an unprecedented budget crisis as it battles COVID-19, is setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars to confront wildfires. Already, more than 1,300 fires — mostly small — have been reported as the hottest, driest months of the year approach.

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Perfect budget storm: Virus, joblessness, weak tax receipts

A photo illustration of a tight budget. <(Image: Syda Productions, via Shutterstock)

The rise of unemployment, dwindling tax revenues, emergency spending to fight COVID-19 and renewed fears of wildfires this year are throwing deep strains on the state budget for the new fiscal year that begins just weeks from now.

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LAO: Virus’ fiscal impact lower than governor’s estimate

State Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Brandon Bourdages, via Shutterstock)

Ultimately, the May Revision will include different revenue estimates and expenditure proposals than we used to arrive at our assessment of the budget problem. In fact, the administration very recently released an estimate of the budget problem—about $54 billion—that is significantly higher than either of our estimates.

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Facing possible loss of House seat, California awaits census

Los Angeles, California's largest city and part of its most populous county, at dusk. (Photo: ESB Professional, via Shutterstock)

As California’s population growth flattens out, the state could lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history. The state’s most recent demographic report shows that California added only 186,807 residents last year, showing a growth rate of .47 percent, the slowest ever.

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Gabriel Petek is Legislature’s new nonpartisan fiscal guru

Gabriel Petek, the new head of the Office of the Legislative Analyst, or LAO. (Photo: Courtesy of Gabriel Petek)

A Wall Street public finance expert who says analyzing California’s fiscal condition was the “defining passion” of his career is the state’s new legislative analyst. He is Gabriel Petek, 47, who until recently was Standard and Poor’s chief credit analyst covering California from an office in San Francisco.

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Independent governance eyed for State Water Project

The California Aqueduct, part of the State Water Project, flows by an almond orchard in the Central Valley. (Photo: Alabn, via Shutterstock)

The State Water Project comprises 700 miles of tunnels, pipelines, aqueducts and siphons that transport water from California’s north to its more arid south, serving 26 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland along the way. It’s a huge project with a lot of infrastructure, and it’s most of what DWR does. But more than 60 years later, there is a move under way to take control of the project out of the hands of DWR and place it in an independent commission.

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In federal court — over a traffic ticket

California drivers in a Los Angeles traffic jam.(Photo: ShutterStock)

Traffic tickets aren’t so out of the ordinary – until you get to Howard Herships’ case. After being caught by a red light camera on a right turn in suburban Sacramento, Herships, 73, contested the $200 ticket. His fight has proven costly: He lost his driver’s license, and his 2014 ticket penalty ballooned more than eight-fold to a whopping $1,665, plus a $55 driver’s license reinstatement fee. Now he’s in federal court over a constitutional issue.

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