To provide helpful information to the California Legislature and the public, the LAO has recorded these videos as companion pieces to reports or as stand-alone primers.
The personal income tax is California's most important revenue source. In this companion video to our report Volatility of California’s Personal Income Tax Structure, LAO Economist Justin Garosi briefly explains the volatility of California's personal income tax structure.
These videos provide a follow up discussion of our March 30, 2017 report The 2017-18 Budget: Considering the State's Role in Elections.
In this series of four animated videos, Fiscal and Policy Analyst Ryan Anderson covers key aspects of special education in California. The first video describes how schools identify students for special education services. The second describes the most common types of disabilities among California students. The last two videos explain how California administers and funds special education services. These videos provide context for ongoing conversations about special education governance and finance.
In this short video, Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst Amber Didier and Fiscal and Policy Analyst Callie Freitag discuss highlights of the report A Long-Term Outlook: Disability Among California’s Seniors.
In this short video Chief Deputy Legislative Analyst Jason Sisney and Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst Carolyn Chu highlight the LAO report Los Angeles' Bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.
These short videos highlight findings in the report California's First Film Tax Credit Program.
Proposition 13 was a landmark decision by California’s voters in June 1978 to limit property taxes. Today, there are many questions about the impacts of these changes. Our report Common Claims About Proposition 13 examines some of these questions and which of them can be answered by the data available. A few of the questions from the report are answered here in video format by analysts Brian Uhler and Carolyn Chu.
In 2016, the Legislative Analyst's Office celebrates 75 years of service to California. Even though much has changed in California during that time, the mission of the office has remained fundamentally the same. To learn more about the Legislative Analyst's Office and its continued role as the state's fiscal advisors, please visit our 75th Anniversary page.
In this companion video to our report The 2016-17 Budget: The Governor’s Proposition 2 Debt Proposal, Fiscal and Policy Analyst Ann Hollingshead discusses the LAO's alternatives to the administration’s proposal for meeting Proposition 2 debt payment requirements in 2016–17 and beyond.
In this short video, Fiscal and Policy Analyst Ann Hollingshead answers some basic questions about Proposition 2. She raises concerns about the Governor's 2016-17 budget reserve proposal, then introduces the LAO's alternatives to the Governor's approach. To find out more about the Governor's budget reserve proposal and the LAO's alternatives, read our report The 2016-17 Budget: The Governor’s Reserve Proposal.
In this short video, Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst Brian Uhler discusses the main points of our recent brief report Perspectives on Helping Low-Income Californians Afford Housing.
On January 21st, 2016, our office released Cap-and-Trade Revenues: Strategies to Promote Legislative Priorities, a report about California’s cap-and-trade program. This program is a key part of California’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this video, Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst Ross Brown discusses the important relationship between the two major components of the state’s cap-and-trade program: (1) the cap-and-trade regulation and (2) the auction revenues that are generated as a result of the regulation. In addition, he discusses how this relationship has important implications for the state’s strategy for spending cap-and-trade auction revenues.
In this short video, Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst Anita Lee summarizes the findings and recommendations in our report Improving California’s Criminal Fine and Fee System.
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.
Economist Seth Kerstein provides information about California's sales tax as a companion piece to the LAO's report, Understanding California's Sales Tax.
In this companion video to our report The 2015-16 Budget: Possible May Revision Scenarios, Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst Ryan Miller discusses scenarios that the state's elected leaders may face when finalizing the 2015-16 Budget.
In this series of short videos, Senior Fiscal & Policy Analysts Chas Alamo and Brian Uhler discuss the many factors that have a role in driving California's high housing costs, the most important being the significant shortage of housing in the state's highly coveted coastal communities. They make recommendations to the Legislature to address this housing shortfall by changing policies to facilitate significantly more private home and apartment building in California's coastal urban communities. Read the report: California's High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences.
The Governor's 2015-16 Budget proposes major changes to the retirement health benefits the state provides to about three-fourths of its employees. In these short videos, Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst Nick Schroeder explains how the state funds retiree health benefits and then discusses recommendations for legislative consideration going forward. For further information about the Governor's proposals and the LAO's recommendations, read the full report The 2015-16 Budget: Health Benefits for Retired State Employees.
Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst Ryan Miller provides information about California's unclaimed property law as a companion piece to the LAO's report Unclaimed Property: Rethinking the State's Lost & Found Program.
This video discusses the current process by which court-ordered debts are collected. We recommend improvements to help increase such collections, thus providing more revenue to state and local funds which, in turn, support a variety of programs such as trial court operations and victim assistance programs. For more detail, read the companion report, Restructuring the Court-Ordered Debt Collection Process, on our website.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor discusses the LAO's report The 2015-16 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook with members of the press.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor discusses The 2014-15 Budget: Overview of the May Revision with members of the media.
These three videos provide an overview of California's liabilities, explain why liabilities are important, and discuss how the Legislature might prioritize the funding of the state's liabilities. They were released as companion pieces to the LAO's report Addressing California's Key Liabilities.
Read the report: Property Tax Reductions to Diminish as Housing Market Improves.
The 19th annual edition of the LAO's Fiscal Outlook--a forecast of California's state General Fund revenues and expenditures over the next six years--reflects continued improvement in the state's finances. A restrained budget for 2013-14, combined with our updated forecast of increased state revenues, has produced a promising budget situation for 2014-15. Our forecast indicates that, absent any changes to current laws and policies, the state would end 2014-15 with a multibillion-dollar reserve. Continued caution is needed, however, given that these surpluses are dependent on a number of assumptions that may not come to pass. For example, as we discuss in this report, an economic downturn within the next few years could quickly result in a return to operating deficits. In this report, we outline a strategic approach for allocating potential surpluses that prepares for the next economic downturn while paying for past commitments, maintaining existing programs, and making new budgetary commitments incrementally to address other public priorities.
Read the report: The 2013-14 Budget: California Spending Plan.
Read the report: Why Have Sales Taxes Grown Slower Than the Economy?
Read the report: Addressing CalSTRS' Long-Term Funding Needs.
Read the report: After Furloughs: State Workers' Leave Balances.
Read the report: Insufficient ERAF: Examining a Recent Issue in Local Government Finance.
Read the report: Restructuring California's Adult Education System.
The 18th annual edition of the LAO's Fiscal Outlook--a forecast of the state's budget condition over the next five years--shows that California's budget situation has improved sharply. The state's economic recovery, prior budget cuts, and the additional, temporary taxes provided by Proposition 30 have combined to bring California to a promising moment: the possible end of a decade of acute state budget challenges. Our economic and budgetary forecast indicates that California's leaders face a dramatically smaller budget problem in 2013-14 compared to recent years. Furthermore, assuming steady economic growth and restraint in augmenting current program funding levels, there is a strong possibility of multibillion-dollar operating surpluses within a few years.
Read the report: Local Government Bankruptcy in California: Questions and Answers.
Read the report: The 2012-13 Budget: Overview of the May Revision.
Read the report: Year-Three Survey: Update on School District Finance in California.
Read the report: Providing Constitutional and Cost-Effective Inmate Medical Care.
Read the report: The 2012-13 Budget: Economic and Revenue Update.
In these videos, analysts Drew Soderborg and Aaron Edwards discuss the effects that California's 2011 realignment laws will have on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Soderborg and Edwards also provide recommendations for the Legislature to consider as it addresses the 2012-13 budget.
Read the report: The 2012-13 Budget: Unwinding Redevelopment.
Read the report: The 2012-13 Budget: Completing Juvenile Justice Realignment.
Read the report: Consolidating California’s Statewide Automated Welfare Systems.
Read the report: Evaluating the Policy Trade-Offs in ARB's Cap-and-Trade Program.
Read the report: The 2012-13 Budget: Analysis of the Governor's Higher Education Proposal.
Read the report: The 2012-13 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis.
Read the report: Improving Higher Education Oversight.
Read the full report: An Alternative Approach: Treating the Incompetent to Stand Trial.
Read the report: Completing the Goals of Trial Court Realignment.
Read the report: Summary of State Collective Bargaining Agreements.
Read the report: A Ten-Year Perspective: California Infrastructure Spending.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor discusses The 2011-12 Budget: Overview of the May Revision.
These videos were released as companion pieces to our report High-Speed Rail Is at a Critical Juncture.
In this webcast (approximately 10 minutes), analyst Rachel Ehlers discusses the LAO report How Small Is Too Small? An Analysis of School District Consolidation.
View companion slides for this video: Public Retirement Benefits: Options for the Future Slides.
Read the report: The 2011-12 Budget: Overview of the Governor’s Budget.
In this short video, Todd Bland, Director of the Social Services Section at the LAO discusses the report California's Other Budget Deficit: The Unemployment Insurance Fund Insolvency.
Read the report: Year-One Survey: Update on School District Finance and Flexibility.
In this short webcast, analysts Eric Thronson and Jessica Digiambattista discuss the recently published LAO report The 2010-11 Budget: Transportation.
Read the report: The 2010-11 Budget: Overview of the Governor’s Budget.
In this four-minute video, analyst Erika Li summarizes the LAO report Try Before You Buy: Expanding Multi–Stage Procurements for Large IT Systems.
In this four-minute video, analyst Paul Golaszewski summarizes the LAO report Achieving Better Outcomes for Adult Probation.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor discusses Overview of the 2009-10 May Revision in this six minute video.
Author Greg Jolivette summarizes the findings of our recent report, Department of Real Estate: Opportunities to Improve Consumer Protection, in a three and one-half minute video.
Jason Sisney summarizes California’s Cash Flow Crisis, May 2009 Update.
Mac Taylor's press conference in which he discusses 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: The Fiscal Outlook Under the February Budget Package.
Director of Higher Education, Steve Boilard, discusses the report 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Higher Education.
Legislative Analyst Director of Criminal Justice, Anthony Simbol, discusses the fourth report in the LAO’s 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series, Criminal Justice Realignment.
Legislative Analyst Director of Social Services, Todd Bland, discusses the LAO report 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Social Services.
Deputy Legislative Analyst Michael Cohen and Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst Jason Dickerson discuss the LAO report 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: California's Cash Flow Crisis.
Mac Taylor's press conference in which he discusses the LAO's 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Overview of the Governor’s Budget.
Mac Taylor discusses the LAO's Overview of the 2008 Special Session Proposals.
Elizabeth Hill discusses the LAO's Overview of the 2008-09 May Revision.
After 32 years of service to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, including nearly 22 years as the Legislative Analyst, Elizabeth Hill advised Legislative Leadership and Members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee late yesterday that she will retire at the end of this legislative session. Ms. Hill, the fourth Legislative Analyst in the office’s 67 year history, expressed her thanks for the opportunity to serve the Legislature in this nonpartisan capacity advising the body on fiscal and policy issues. Here she answers questions from the media.
Elizabeth Hill discusses Highlights of the 2008-09 Analysis and Perspectives and Issues.
When the state mandates that a local government provide a new program or higher level of service, the California constitution often—but not always—requires the state to reimburse the local government. Determining which state requirements must be reimbursed—and which local governments must pay for on their own—is not always easy. To help explain these issues, we prepared two narrated presentations. What’s a Mandate—An Overview provides a broad overview of the reimbursement requirement. What’s a Mandate—Learning Through Examples explores different types of state laws and regulations and helps you walk through the steps to sort out whether or not they would be a state-reimbursable mandate.