Category: Articles & Op-Eds

CA Legislature Must Stop Bullying UC

As the State Legislature holds a hearing today about the University of California, consider the following: UC will collect $3.5 billion from the state this year, just six percent more than a decade ago. Since 2010, state spending on UC…

Don’t Blame UC for Establishing a Reserve

Blame state officials for defunding UC A state auditor criticized the University of California for establishing a $175 million reserve. But what would you do if the state treated you like this: And how might you react if over the…

Healthcare Providers Aren’t Greedier than Uber

So why do health care costs rise while ride sharing costs fall? I just read An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Kaiser Health News Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal, a fact-filled* critique…

Dissecting San Jose Unified

Even “Positively Certified” Districts Are In Serious Trouble Normally, California school districts don’t face financial stress when state revenues are robust. Usually that stress arises only when state revenues shrink as a result of declining stock markets. But schools in California…

California’s K-12 Pension Cost Crisis

Exacting toll on arts, CS, teacher raises, training, staffing Before 2005 my knowledge of defined benefit (DB) pension plans was limited to experience with a small business I joined in 1979 that offered a DB plan. I was pleased with…

California Needs A Truman Committee

In 1941 the US Senate formed a committee to address waste, inefficiency and profiteering in war production. Chaired by Harry Truman, the committee was extraordinarily successful and launched Truman on to the presidency. Today the country is in another war…

California Dodges One Bullet

Now it must take on the healthcare-industrial complex California dodged a budgetary bullet last week when Congress elected not to change Medicaid reimbursement rules. With 14 million people covered by Medi-Cal, which is California’s version of Medicaid, the consequences for…

Clearing Up Public Pension Accounting

Public plans needn’t use a risk-free rate of return Recently I was asked about an assertion in a paper issued by an affiliate of the University of California that a public pension system with less than a 100 percent funding ratio…

San Francisco Officials Are Chasing Rabbits

Where logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead* San Francisco’s pension costs are expected to rise three times faster than revenues over the next five years (see “Even San Francisco, Flush With Tech Wealth, Has Pension Problems,” Bloomberg) but another disclosure…

Clearing Up More Pension Math

The investment return assumption allocates costs Recent articles about California’s latest pension cost increases reflect confusion about the role of the investment return assumption. While it’s correct that current pension costs increase when investment return assumptions decrease, the articles usually…