LAO 2004-05 Budget Analysis: General Government

Analysis of the 2004-05 Budget Bill

Legislative Analyst's Office
February 2004

Secretary for Resources (0540)

The Secretary for Resources oversees the Resources Agency. The Resources Agency through its various departments, boards, commissions, and conservancies is responsible for conservation, restoration, and management of California's natural and cultural resources. The following departments and organizations are under the Resources Agency:

Conservation

Wildlife Conservation Board

Fish and Game

State Coastal Conservancy

Forestry and Fire Protection

San Joaquin River Conservancy

Parks and Recreation

California Tahoe Conservancy

Boating and Waterways

California Coastal Commission

Water Resources

State Reclamation Board

State Lands Commission

Baldwin Hills Conservancy

Colorado RiverBoard

Special Resources Programs

California Conservation Corps

San Diego River Conservancy

Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission

San Gabrieland Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

California Bay-Delta Authority

Delta Protection Commission

Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy

The budget requests $6.8 million for the Secretary in 2004-05, a decrease of $181 million below estimated current-year expenditures. The requested amount is solely for the Secretary's support budget and includes no funding for local assistance. The decrease in expenditures reflects both the substantial drawing down in the current and prior years of bond funds from Propositions 12, 13, 40, and 204 and the administration's decision to defer to later in the spring the submittal of most of its resources bond proposals. (Please see the discussion on "Resources Bonds" in the "Crosscutting Issues" section of this chapter.) For the core administrative functions of the Secretary supported with funds other than bond funds (mainly the Environmental License Plate Fund), the budget proposes a funding level about the same as in the current year.

Withhold Recommendation on Support Budget Pending Receipt of Restructuring Plan

We withhold recommendation on the support budget for the Secretary for Resources pending the receipt and review of the Governor's plan to restructure the Secretary.

Governor Proposes Restructuring the Secretary for Resources. The Governor's budget includes $6.8 million from various funds for support of the Secretary for Resources. The administration indicates that a plan to revise the structure of the Secretary is under development and will be released as part of the May Revision. At the time this analysis was prepared, the administration was not able to provide information on the specific activities or positions that would be funded as part of the Secretary's support budget.

Withhold Recommendation Until Plan Is Submitted. We find that the Legislature lacks the information necessary to fully evaluate the benefits of the proposed support expenditures, including their consistency with legislative priorities. In the past, we have raised concerns with the effectiveness of certain support expenditures proposed for the Secretary. (For example, please see pages B-57 and B-77 in the Analysis of the 2003-04 Budget Bill.) We therefore withhold recommendation on the Secretary's support budget pending the submittal and review of a plan on the Secretary's structure.

Direct Secretary to Provide Specific Information in Plan. In order for the plan on the Secretary's structure to be most useful to the Legislature in its review of the Secretary's budget, we recommend that the Legislature direct the Secretary to include, at a minimum, the following information in its plan:

In order for the Legislature to have an adequate amount of time to evaluate the plan, we recommend that the information requested above be submitted to the Legislature prior to budget subcommittee hearings on this item.


Return to Resources Table of Contents, 2004-05 Budget Analysis