Category: Articles & Op-Eds

CA Should Raise Teacher Pay By Reducing Unfunded Retirement Obligations

Fast-rising spending on pensions and other retirement costs is crushing teacher staffing and pay in California. As an example, retirement spending at San Francisco Unified School District grew 3x faster than district revenues over the last five years, absorbing $35…

Political Dissonance in California

Political philanthropists must not be fooled. Imagine the following: A candidate for elected office in California says to donors and voters that, if elected, he will innovate state services so they are as consumer-friendly and digitally-available as, say, Apple’s services. But…

Pension and Other Retirement Costs Are Crowding Out SF School Teachers

100+% growth in retirement spending over five years. School starts today in San Francisco but according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle not all classrooms may have teachers because of “a rash of departures over the summer.” Perhaps the…

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…