Role of the LAO
The office serves as "eyes and ears" for
the Legislature to ensure that the executive branch is implementing legislative
policy in a cost efficient and effective manner. The office carries out this
legislative oversight function by reviewing and analyzing the operations and
finances of state government.
Historically, one of the most important
responsibilities of the LAO has been to analyze the annual Governor's budget
and publish a detailed review at the end of February.
In recent years, the office has presented a series of analyses from the beginning
to the end of the budget process on overarching fiscal issues as well as specific
departmental budget proposals and offered its recommendations for legislative action.
In order to provide the Legislature with timely advice on these matters, the LAO has
published its budget comments and advice in the form of separate written reports,
handouts for hearings, and entries on a Web-based online list, all of which are
available at its website, www.lao.ca.gov.
These documents help set the agenda for the work of the Legislature's fiscal
committees in developing a state budget. Staff of the office work with these
committees throughout the budget process and provide public testimony on the
More generally, the office is a staff
resource to all legislators. The LAO also performs the following functions:
The LAO reviews requests by the administration to make changes to the budget after
it is enacted. These reviews are used primarily by members of the JLBC and the
Throughout the year, the office prepares special reports on the state budget
and topics of interest to the Legislature.
Initiatives and Ballot Measures.
The office estimates the fiscal effect on state and
local government of all proposed initiatives (prior to
circulation) and prepares analyses of all measures that qualify for the statewide
The LAO forecasts the state revenues and expenditures.
For a specific
program-related question, see our
responsibility on this site.
The office's publications are available in
hard copy as well as on the LAO web site at www.lao.ca.gov.
Generally, reports are accessible on the office's home page the same day they
are released to the Legislature.