|Budget Issue:||Reimbursements to counties for certain costs, such as those resulting from crimes committed in state prisons.|
|Program:||Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation|
|Finding or Recommendation:||Provide the proposed $3.3 million one-time augmentation to eliminate an existing backlog of unpaid claims over a three-year period from 2010-11 to 2012-13, with a first installment of $1.1 million provided in 2010-11. However, in order to avoid the creation of an additional backlog of unpaid claims, approve the Governor's proposed base increase of $2.2 million.|
Under existing state law, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is required to reimburse counties for certain costs incurred, such as those resulting from crimes committed in state prisons, such as the cost to prosecute crimes committed by inmates. The 2009-10 budget provided $20.8 million from the General Fund to support these reimbursements. However, the Governor's budget for 2010-11 proposes a net increase of 2.1 million to this level of funding resulting from the following adjustments:
Given that the $3.3 million backlog of unpaid claims is for expenses that have already occurred, the state is required to reimburse counties for these costs. However, in view of the state’s current General Fund shortfall, the state many not be able to afford to pay the full amount owed now, as proposed by the Governor. As an alternative, we recommend the Legislature provide the $3.3 million over a three-year period from 2010-11 to 2012-13, with a first installment of $1.1 million provided in 2010-11. Compared to the Governor’s budget, this would result in budget-year savings of $2.2 million.
However, in order to avoid the creation of an additional backlog of unpaid claims, we recommend that the Legislature approve the proposed base increase of $2.2 million. Since the department will likely revise its budget request based on updated information regarding county claims in the current year, we also recommend that the Legislature withhold final action on this request until the May Revision.