California’s state budget is the largest in the country and is also the largest bill in terms of page length and number of provisions. Although its provisions are too numerous to cover, there are a number that are unique and readers should be aware of them. This article is the seventh in a series.
So what are some of these unique provisions of California’s budget bill?
Use of refunds
This section (Section 28.50) authorizes departments and other state agencies to expend all monies received as reimbursement from another state agency upon prior written approval of the Chief Financial Officer. However, for any reimbursement expense or transfer for the fiscal year that exceeds $200,000, the Chief Financial Officer is required to provide written notice of any approval granted under this section to the respective Assembly and Senate Committees appointed.
List of state positions
This section requires the Department of Finance to publish a list of all positions in every state department and agency. This list will be published three times a year. Here is an example of such language from a state budget bill:
The Ministry of Finance will calculate and publish a list of the total number of positions for each ministry and agency. These lists will be released by the Department of Finance concurrently with the release of (a) the Governor’s Budget, (b) the May Review, and (c) the Final Amendments Book.
(a) The list provided at the time of publication of the Governor’s Budget shall contain the positions actually filled for the past year, an estimate of the positions for the current year and the proposed positions for the budget year.
(b) The list provided at the time of the publication of the May revision will contain the estimates of the posts proposed for the budget year.
(c) The list provided at the time of publication of the Book of Final Amendments will contain the estimates of posts for the financial year just enacted.
This section (Section 31) requires that appropriations made by the California budget bill be made in accordance with allocations and other provisions of departmental budgets approved by the Department of Finance. These departmental budgets must authorize any established positions approved for year-round continuation. Permission from the Ministry of Finance is required for positions above the specified maximum salary and for the creation of certain new positions.
In addition, this section requires the Ministry of Finance to retain for a period of at least two years documentation of approved job changes as specified. It then provides a statement of legislative intent regarding legislative approval of administratively established positions. Here is an example of such language from a state budget bill:
(d) It is the intention of the Legislature that all positions administratively created under this section and intended by the Administration to be permanent shall be submitted to the Legislature for approval through the regular budget process as soon as possible. All positions administratively created under this section during the 2022-2023 fiscal year will expire on June 30, 2023, except for positions that have been (1) approved by the Legislative Assembly as part of the estimates process ordinary for the 2023-2024 financial year. year as new positions or (2) approved by the Department of Finance following the submission of the Governor’s Budget 2023-2024 to the Legislature and then reported to the Legislative Assembly by July 1, 2023. The positions identified in (2) above may be reinstated by the Department of Finance in Fiscal Year 2023-24, provided these items are included in the Governor’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25 as submitted to the Legislative Assembly , and provided that such positions do not result in the reinstatement of positions removed by the Legislative Assembly as part of the estimates process for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The Department of Finance shall notify the Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee in writing within 30 days of the reinstatement of approved positions in the 2023-2024 fiscal year in accordance with subsection (2) above.
(e) Funds appropriated in the 2022-2023 fiscal year may only be expended on salary scale increases or any other employee compensation measure if appropriated for that purpose, or if the Department of Finance certify to the wage and other compensation setting authority, before the action is taken, that funds are available to pay the salary increase or employee compensation resulting from the action. Prior to certification, the Department of Finance will determine whether the salary scale increase or employee compensation measure will require additional funding in fiscal year 2023-24. If the Department of Finance determines that additional funding will be required, the Department can only certify if it notifies in writing, at least 30 days in advance, the chairpersons of the committees of each house of the Legislative Assembly that are reviewing appropriations and the Chairman of the Joint Committee Legislative Budget Committee, or such lesser period as the Chairman of the Joint Committee, or the person designated by the President, determines.
(g) Requests to maintain positions administratively established as permanent positions pursuant to subsection (d) must include information on the date the positions were administratively established. This information should be included in budget change proposals and finance letters from the administration. If the administration requests the creation of new positions during the 2023-2024 fiscal year and subsequently decides to administratively create the positions during the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the Ministère des Finances notifies the President of the Legislative Joint Budget Committee within the following timeframes: 30 days of the administrative constitution of positions.
(h) This section applies to all state agencies, departments, boards, offices and commissions.
Prohibition of overspending
This section (Section 32) prohibits any government official from incurring expenditures in excess of the appropriations contained in the California budget bill. Further, “any debt attempted to be created against the State in violation of this Section shall be null and void, and shall not be authorized by the Monitor or paid from any appropriation of the State.”
Further, this section provides that any member of any department, board, commission or institution who votes an expenditure or creates a debt against the State beyond the respective appropriations granted by this law, shall be liable both personally and on the member’s official bond for the amount of the debt, to be collected in any court of competent jurisdiction by the person or persons, firm or company to which the debt is owed. There are a number of exceptions to this personal liability provision.