Category: Articles & Op-Eds

Political Courage, California Style

A willingness to risk one’s political career. Politicians love to talk about “courage” but few demonstrate it. One example of someone who did is President Jimmy Carter when he appointed Paul Volcker to head the Federal Reserve System in August…

It’s The Lie That Gets You

How Funded Ratios can decline even when stock markets rise The stock market is 70% higher than ten years ago yet CalPERS’s Funded Ratio (the ratio of assets to liabilities) is 20% lower than ten years ago. How does that happen?…

An Alternative To Alternative News

Fake news is a problem. But citizens shouldn’t rely on intermediaries when they can get information from primary sources. Nowadays primary sources are just a few clicks away. For example, to learn how much California really spends on K-12 education,…

California Starvin’ [Its Universities]

State is slowly but surely defunding UC and CSU Everyone knows about President Trump’s recent threat to pull federal funding from the University of California at Berkeley but few know that California is already starving its legendary university systems. California’s General…

UC and CSU Need Help From Legislature

California’s General Fund revenues in the coming fiscal year are expected to be 23 percent higher than a decade ago. But state spending on the University of California and California State University has grown at a fraction of that pace.…

How To Differentiate California’s Gubernatorial Candidates

John Chiang, Delaine Eastin, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa are running to succeed Governor Jerry Brown. Little separates them on the environment, LGBTQ rights, immigration and Trump. Four other matters are likely to separate them, with big consequences for citizens.…

California’s Hidden Expenses: Part IV

$3.5B YOY Growth In Unfunded Teacher Pensions California’s Teacher Pension Fund (CalSTRS) recently released its latest CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) showing the state’s Unfunded Liability for Teacher Pensions grew to $76.2 billion from $72.7 billion the year before: Page 124…

More Alternative Facts From CalSTRS

Everyone knows about Sean Spicer’s overstatement of the size of President Trump’s inauguration crowd. Few know about the California State Teachers Retirement System’s understatement of the size of teacher pension liabilities. CalSTRS, the state-run pension fund that manages pension assets…

Big Changes In California’s Spending

Jerry Brown Should Ask State Legislature To Address Core Issues Jerry Brown just proposed his sixth budget since taking office in January 2011. Boosted by a bull market and tax rate increase, General Fund revenues are budgeted to be 32% higher…

California’s Hidden Expenses: Part III

$6B YOY Growth In Unfunded Pensions Owed State Employees Last year Governor Brown listed the state’s liability for State Employee Pensions at $43 billion (see below and page 3 here). This year he lists that same liability at $49 billion…