Former Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill at one of her last official budget briefings. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)
Elizabeth Hill became the first woman to head the California Legislative Analyst’s Office in 1986 when she was eight months’ pregnant with her second child. For 22 years, she held one of the most important positions in state government — advising the 120-member Legislature during fractious times and sometimes clashing over policy recommendations in an increasingly partisan environment beset by the passage of term limits, deep budget cuts, and recession.
An effort is under way in the Capitol to require local governments to perform comprehensive economic impact studies of so-called “superstores” before approving the projects.
The thorny issue pits big-box, general-service, non-union retailers such as Wal-Mart against small businesses and organized labor, who believe the huge stores unfairly compete and spark downward economic spirals. It