Long-time Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill to Retire
“Her dedication to examining the policies — not the politics — of issues was remarkable. I and my colleagues will sorely miss her thoughtful analysis and sound advice. It’s truly the end of an era,” said Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata of Oakland.
Hill was named California’s Legislative Analyst by lawmakers in 1986. She supervises a staff of nearly 60 that each year offers lawmakers policy recommendations on state issues and programs, most notably California’s $129 billion budget.
After the full impact of term limits were felt in 1996, Hill and her office played a larger role in maintaining the Legislature’s institutional memory, educating new lawmakers about long-simmering policy issues and offering rational guidance in addressing them.
Scrupulously objective in her assessment of fiscal and policy issues, Hill earned a reputation of being both thorough and trustworthy. In debates with governors over whose fiscal forecasts were more valid, Hill was almost always the winner.
The work of Hill and her staff touches every aspect of state government from debt levels to pension obligations, transportation, prisons, water policy, health care and social services.
Her office’s voluminous annual Analysis of the Budget Bill is the Bible lawmakers and staff members use in creating California’s annual spending plan.
The “fat book,” as the tome is affectionately called, also is a news reporter’s dream because at least four great stories are routinely buried in its depths. And Hill’s staff has done much of the investigation.
The Capitol lobbying corps and the staff of individual legislators contain a number of alumni from Hill’s office.
Her successor will be chosen by the 16-member Joint Legislative Budget Committee chaired by Sen. Denise Ducheny, a San Diego Democrat.
Hill’s top deputies, Hadley Johnson and Mac Taylor are both talented, long-time veterans of the office. Johnson is also retiring at the end of the legislative session in September.
A Modesto native, Hill joined the Legislative Analyst’s office in 1976 as a criminal justice analyst. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in human biology. She earned a master’s in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley. She has received numerous awards for her policy expertise and public service.
Hill’s husband Larry is already retired. They have two adult children, Erik and Kristina.
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