SAN FRANCISCO - California legislative analyst Elizabeth Hill will retire this summer, she announced yesterday.

Hill has headed the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office for more than 21 years. The office is charged with providing unbiased analysis of state programs, most notably its regular review of proposed and enacted state budgets.

Her office's budget reviews have a reputation for straightforward analysis that separates fiscal facts from optimistic assumptions.

"It is truly the end of an era," Senate president pro tem Don Perata said in a statement after Hill's retirement was announced. "Her dedication to examining the policies - not the politics - of issues was remarkable."

Hill joined the LAO as a program analyst in 1976. She was appointed legislative analyst in 1986, and is one of only four people to hold that job in the office's 67-year history.

Hill said she would retire at the end of the current session of the Legislature, which is scheduled to adjourn Aug. 31. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee will choose her successor.

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