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Key takeaways from recent LAO publications

Our office will publish shorter, more focused budget analyses over the next few months. In most cases, rather than sending out an announcement for each publication, we will provide periodic updates with the key takeaways from recent pieces. All of our 2022-23 budget analyses to date can be found here.

The 2022-23 Budget: Oil Well Abandonment and Remediation

  • Governor Proposes $200 Million for Well Remediation. The Governor’s budget proposes $200 million General Fund over two years for the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) within the Department of Conservation to plug deserted wells and decommission associated facilities.
  • Significant Increase in State Well Remediation and Other Funds Potentially More Appropriate. Although addressing deserted wells could have environmental, health, and safety benefits, this proposal represents a significant expansion of current well remediation activities. In addition, federal funding for well remediation activities will soon be available. Furthermore, it may be appropriate for the current oil and gas operators to bear at least some of the cost of remediating the environmental damages from these wells—rather than the general taxpayer through the state General Fund.  
  • Consider Modifying Governor’s Proposal. We recommend the Legislature consider reducing the amount of state funding proposed, consider using alternative sources of funding to support well remediation, and require reporting on key program outcomes to inform future funding decisions. 

LAO Contact: Eunice Roh

The 2022-23 Budget: Water and Drought Response Proposals

  • Governor Proposes $750 Million General Fund for Drought Response and Resiliency Activities. This includes $500 million for specified activities and $250 million for which the administration plans to present a more detailed proposal later this spring. These funds would add to $880 million in 2022-23 being provided as part of last year’s water package.
  • Most Proposed Activities Address Longer-Term Resilience to Drought, Not Near-Term Conditions. The majority of the proposed activities would not address conditions this summer and fall, but rather would focus on longer-term efforts that might improve the state’s and local communities’ abilities to respond to future droughts. 
  • Addressing State’s Longer-Term Ability to Respond to Droughts Has Merit, but Legislature Recently Made Significant Investments in Building Water Resilience. To the extent allocating additional funding for improving water and drought resilience is a priority for the Legislature in 2022-23, we recommend it modify the Governor’s proposals to fund the mix of programs it deems to be the highest priority and most cost-effective for achieving its goals. 

LAO Contact: Rachel Ehlers

The 2022-23 Budget: Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training

  • Peace Officer Decertification Legislation Implementation. The Governor’s budget proposes $22.7 million from the General Fund and 127 positions to implement a peace officer decertification program established by recent legislation. We find that the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) has not requested resources to implement certain aspects of the new program and could face implementation challenges. We recommend the Legislature direct POST to submit a revised proposal in the spring that addresses these concerns.
  • Peace Officer Wellness Program. The Governor’s budget proposes $5 million one time from the General Fund to develop a law enforcement officer wellness program. We find that key questions about the proposal remain unanswered including the goals of the program and the types of activities the program would fund and, thus, recommend the Legislature withhold action until POST provides key details about the proposed wellness program.

LAO Contact: Jessica Peters

This article was released by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.