The California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (CDIAC) provides information, education and technical assistance on debt issuance and public fund investments to local public agencies and other public finance professionals. The Commission was created in 1981 with the passage of Chapter 1088, Statutes of 1981 (Assembly Bill (AB) 1192, Costa). This legislation established the California Debt Advisory Commission as the State's clearinghouse for public debt issuance information and required it to assist state and local agencies with the monitoring, issuance and management of public debt. The Commission's name was changed to the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission with the passage of Chapter 833, Statutes of 1996 (AB 1197, Takasugi), and its mission was expanded to cover public investments. Among other functions specified in statute, CDIAC:
- Collects information on all State and local debt issuance in California and serves as a statistical clearinghouse.
- Provides technical assistance and continuing education to state and local government officials on the practices and strategies for public debt issuance and investing public funds.
- Undertakes or commissions studies on methods to reduce the costs of debt and improve credit ratings.
- Publishes a monthly newsletter.
- Recommends legislative changes to improve the sale and servicing of state and local debt.
- Collects reports of annual fiscal status, bond reserve draws and bond defaults for Mello-Roos Community Facilities Districts and Marks-Roos Bond Pools
- Assists State financing authorities and commissions to carry out their responsibilities.
The Commission consists of nine members, including the State Treasurer, the Governor or the Director of Finance, the State Controller, two local government finance officials, two Assembly Members, and two Senators. The State Treasurer serves as the Chairperson and appoints the two local government officials. The Speaker of the Assembly appoints the Assembly representatives and the Senate Rules Committee appoints the Senate representatives. Appointed members serve four-year terms, or at the pleasure of their appointing power. The Commission directs the activities of the staff.
In performance of its mission, CDIAC engages in a range of activities classified into three general program areas: data collection and analysis, policy research, and education.
Data Collection and Analysis
As the State's clearinghouse for public debt issuance information, CDIAC has compiled data on all public debt issued in California since January 1, 1982. All issuers of state and local government debt are required to report issue-specific information to CDIAC 30 days prior to the proposed sale date and again, no later than 21 days from the actual sale date. In addition, issuers of Mello-Roos and Marks-Roos debt are required to submit annual fiscal status reports to CDIAC. In total, CDIAC receives 2,500 to 4,000 individual reports annually, a range dependent on state and local issuance activity and municipal market conditions.
Data from these reports are maintained in the California Debt Issuance Database and forms the basis for the debt information and statistical analysis released by CDIAC. Details on the public debt that has been proposed for sale and debt that has been sold are published on a monthly basis in the Calendar of Debt Issuance within Debt Line, CDIAC’s monthly newsletter. In addition, CDIAC uses the data it collects to prepare numerous reports of debt issuance trends and statistics during the year and at year-end.
CDIAC works to improve the marketability of public debt issued in California and the safety and performance of municipal investment portfolios by undertaking or commissioning studies on various aspects of the debt and investment markets, providing guidance to state and local debt issuers and investment managers, and recommending legislative changes in matters affecting debt issuance and public funds investing.
CDIAC examines issues that are of current interest and have practical relevance to public finance officials. Typically, projects are designed to:
- Raise the general level of understanding among public issuers and investors of the key elements of debt issuance and public funds investing.
- Apprise issuers and investors of emerging trends in public finance.
- Inform local officials of financing and investing options.
- Preserve the integrity and viability of the public finance market by alerting policy makers to potential problem areas.
Research staff stays abreast of developments and events in the municipal and other financial markets and works in conjunction with the Executive Director, with input and advice from Commission members, to determine the topic areas of research and analysis. CDIAC's research draws on information from the California Debt Issuance Database, public and private experts throughout the municipal industry, public and private finance groups, periodicals and journals, and numerous public and private data sources. Research staff prepares their findings and recommendations in the forms of Issue Briefs, technical reports, guidelines, and articles for the Debt Line monthly newsletter.
Since 1984, CDIAC has organized educational seminars focusing on public finance matters and the debt issuance process. Public funds investment was added to the curriculum in 1996. Offered throughout the year at various locations in the State, CDIAC seminars are aimed at public finance officials and designed to:
- Introduce the basic debt and investment concepts to those new to these fields.
- Strengthen the expertise of the more experienced practitioners.
- Inform officials of current debt and investment topics arising from changing market conditions or policy considerations.
- Apprise officials of the most current best practices and guidelines for the management of public debt and investments.
CDIAC places a high priority on making its data and expertise available to public agencies in useful forms. Accessibility is the crux of its technical assistance program. In 2011, CDIAC began to make a wide array of educational programming available through webinars. The webinar format allows CDIAC to bring topical information to public agencies in a more timely and convenient fashion.
In addition to its own educational seminars and webinars, CDIAC has acted as co-sponsor of public finance-related conferences, symposia, and seminars conducted by private companies and statewide associations. These partnerships allow CDIAC to efficiently target its educational programming, increase contacts with experts from public and private sectors, and keep abreast of current matters affecting public finance.