On November 18, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) released the annual publication, California’s Fiscal Outlook. The release of this report serves as a prelude to the annual budget deliberation process that begins every January with the release of the Governor’s January Budget Proposal. The Community College League of California’s full analysis and perspective on this report is available here.
A key point to share includes the availability of significant one-time resources, estimated at about $253 million in 2016-17, which provides an opportunity to think strategically about programmatic needs both in technology infrastructure and in curriculum and resources development. Colleges can view the prospect of one-time funds as start-up monies for programmatic improvements that can lead to student success. The system is poised to utilize one-time funds on new efforts such as the implementation of the Strong Workforce Task Force recommendations.
The report reminds us that colleges will need to continue to focus on long-term cost pressures. The League’s primary analysis is to be cautious of the state’s heavy reliance on personal income tax, especially since much of the growth comes from Bay Area technology industries. Based on the forecasted economic conditions and long-term cost pressures, the League advises districts to exercise optimistic restraint.
As you review the report, we remind you that the LAO revenue estimates are generally higher than those identified by the Governor and Department of Finance, and even those adopted in the Budget Act. The Fiscal Outlook serves as a preview of the upcoming budget discussions. To read the full California’s Fiscal Outlook report, please click here. If you have questions, please contact Legislative Advocate, Lizette Navarette at firstname.lastname@example.org.