Category: Articles & Op-Eds

Meet The New Boss. Same As The Old Boss.

And meet who’s at fault: You. Until 1910, the dominant political force in California was the Southern Pacific Railroad. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, SP “manipulated much of California’s political life, buying city supervisors, mayors, judges, the state legislature and…

CA Continues To Abandon UC and CSU

2017–18 budget shows more displacement by retirement costs The State of California’s 2017–18 Enacted Budget confirms an ominous trend as state spending on retirement costs continues displacing state spending on the University of California and California State University. Seven years…

These California Republicans Should Stop Whining

Even Reagan and Wilson would fail their test. Some angry California Republicans are up in arms about eight GOP state legislators who voted for cap and trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Full disclosure: I supported the election of one…

A Teachable Pension Math Moment

Unfortunately, compounding works in two directions. Yesterday the California Public Employees’ Retirement System reported excellent earnings for its 2016–17 fiscal year, earning 11.2 percent. Yet CalPERS’s Funded Ratio (the ratio of assets set aside to meet pension liabilities owed by…

The Great California Classroom Robbery

Pension and retiree healthcare beneficiaries must chip in. Despite historic revenue gains, California’s public schools are in financial trouble. While California’s public schools often suffer financial distress during recessions, their current plight is alarmingly taking place during an economic recovery and…

Pension Deficits Are Not Like Droughts

Yvonne Walker tries Scott Pruitt’s approach. Last week the Sacramento Bee published a guest op-ed by Yvonne Walker, who leads an employee association, that likens public pension deficits to droughts fixable with a good winter of rain. But that’s not…

A Sad Day For Truth-Telling In Sacramento

Interested party briefs legislators. I received notes from yesterday’s briefing of legislators about Governor Brown’s proposal for a special fund (SMIF) to lend the general fund $6 billion so the general fund can put that money in CalPERS, a state…

Jerry Brown’s Big Skim

Potential profits could’ve been used for government services Governor Jerry Brown and the California Legislature have approved a scheme under which a special state fund filled with citizen-paid fees will lend money to the state General Fund, which in turn…

California Elects Not to Pay Down Pension Debt

Yet Governor Brown promises savings In a June 11 essay I suggested the state pay down pension debt rather than adopt Governor Brown’s proposal to borrow to boost pension contributions. A pay-down would lock in savings for citizens. But Brown and…

Shallow Waters

What Awaits California’s Next Governor California’s economy rises and falls with the national economy: Unemployment Rate, seasonally adjusted. Data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Governors have little to do with those waves but their approval ratings ride right alongside. Pete…