LAO Reports

The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal

February 21, 2013

 


The Governor’s 2013‑14 budget includes a plan to implement the provisions of Proposition 39, which increases state corporate tax (CT) revenues and requires that half of these revenues for a five-year period be used for energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. The Governor proposes to count all associated revenues toward the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges. The Governor also proposes to designate all energy-related Proposition 39 funds to schools ($400.5 million) and community colleges ($49.5 million) in 2013‑14 and for the following four years. The Governor’s proposal to count all Proposition 39 revenues toward the Proposition 98 calculation is a significant departure from our longstanding view that revenues are to be excluded from the Proposition 98 calculation if the Legislature cannot use them for general purposes. In addition, the proposal excludes other eligible projects besides schools and community colleges (such as public hospitals) that potentially could achieve greater energy benefits. Further, the proposal does not coordinate Proposition 39 funding with the state’s existing energy efficiency programs. In view of the above concerns, we recommend the Legislature exclude from the Proposition 98 calculation all Proposition 39 revenues required to be used on energy-related projects and not count spending from these revenues as Proposition 98 expenditures. In addition, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to administer a competitive grant process in which all public agencies, including schools and community colleges, could apply and receive funding based on identified facility needs.