Government Insolvency

Defining an omni-shambles: California’s unemployment agency

Defining an omni-shambles: California’s unemployment agency

By: Thomas Buckley, Guest Contributor The organization’s crisis response has opened a window into how it truly feels about the public it serves On January 1, 2021, 1.4 million Californians woke up with something much worse than a hangover. They found a surprise email from the state’s Employment Development Department telling them that their unemployment...

By Thomas Buckley

Letter to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)

Letter to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)

In a little-known and influential institution, a group of experts at the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regularly update best practices and standards for government financial practices and procedures. They are best recognized for their generally accepted accounting principles. As described in their website, “GASB develops and issues accounting standards through a transparent and inclusive...

By Jordan Bruneau

Government Unions and California Ballot Propositions

Government Unions and California Ballot Propositions

Californians voted on twelve state ballot propositions on November 3. On nine of these propositions, California’s government and private sector unions spent significant amounts of money, over a million in five cases, and over ten million in two cases. But of these nine, the unions only got their way on one of them, Prop. 19, which changed...

By Edward Ring

Citizen Initiatives Transform Oxnard Politics

Citizen Initiatives Transform Oxnard Politics

California’s ballot initiative process allows citizen activists to bypass politicians who are controlled by special interests. The ability for citizens today to connect and organize using online resources means it has never been easier for a determined group of individuals, without access to big donors, to nonetheless successfully qualify reform measures for the ballot and...

By Edward Ring

Sacramento Loses Its Finest Legislator

Sacramento Loses Its Finest Legislator

On November 13th, ten days after the election, and facing final counts that made any chance of victory impossible, California State Senator John Moorlach (R-37) conceded defeat to his challenger, Democrat David Min. Reached for comment, Moorlach said “we worked hard on fundraising, the ground game, the phone calls; we worked hard, and we had a...

By Edward Ring

How Much do California’s State Workers Make?

How Much do California’s State Workers Make?

Californians pay the highest overall taxes in the United States, with more to come. The Democratic supermajority in the state legislature is considering AB 1253 that would raise the top income tax rate to 16.8 percent, and AB 2088 that would impose an annual 0.4 percent tax on any California resident’s net worth in excess of $30 million. On...

By Edward Ring

Firefighters Union Backs Prop 15 Instead of Forestry Reform

Firefighters Union Backs Prop 15 Instead of Forestry Reform

Thousands of firefighters continue to battle blazes across California. In Orange County, two firefighters are in critical condition after suffering major injuries battling the Silverado Fire. Every year around this time, firefighters risk their lives, and some of them lose their lives, protecting the rest of us from these catastrophic fires. Deep respect for what firefighters do,...

By Edward Ring

Separating Good Bailouts from Bad Bailouts

Separating Good Bailouts from Bad Bailouts

The pandemic shutdown is about to enter its third month, and economic repercussions have just begun. Too much has been shut down for too long. In California, the initial reopen is not going to include huge business sectors – theaters, concerts, conventions, sports, travel, hotels – and other sectors such as restaurants and retail establishments are going...

By Edward Ring

California is Ready to Get Rid of Newsom

California is Ready to Get Rid of Newsom

Across California on May 1, tens of thousands protested in defiance of the lockdown orders. In Sacramento, the west lawn of the state capitol building was filled with protesters, with thousands more marching along the sidewalk surrounding the capitol grounds. Additional thousands driving their cars and honking their horns created three hours of total gridlock on...

By Edward Ring

Huntington Beach denies pandemic reality, dispenses pay raises

Huntington Beach denies pandemic reality, dispenses pay raises

On Monday, April 6 the Huntington Beach City Council voted to increase pay for its police officers and city employees. The cost for these raises over the next three years is estimated at $5 million. In a city that reported general revenues of $188 million in the fiscal year ended June 2019, this raise can accurately be described as...

By Edward Ring

Rating California counties on the thoroughness of their COVID-19 data dashboards

Rating California counties on the thoroughness of their COVID-19 data dashboards

Editor’s Note: The following was originally published on Reason. In terms of providing quality information that researchers, hospitals, public health officials, and taxpayers would find the most useful, the best portals are offered by San Diego, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Marin counties. County governments across California are providing an array of public coronavirus data...

By Marc Joffe

COVID-19 Worsens Fiscal Distress for Lindsay California

COVID-19 Worsens Fiscal Distress for Lindsay California

The city of Lindsay, in Tulare County, is California’s fourth highest risk city according to the California state auditor. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Its fiscal condition will likely deteriorate further as residents shelter at home, raising the specter of sharp service cuts or even Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the city. The mistakes...

By Marc Joffe

Black Swans and Super Bubbles

Black Swans and Super Bubbles

Black Swan: an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences.” – Investopedia For decades there have been so-called “permabears” claiming that investment returns in the stock market were unsustainable. When the internet bubble popped in 1999, the permabears felt vindicated. But then, starting around 2003, the...

By Edward Ring

Post-Coronapocalypse pension reform checklist for California

Post-Coronapocalypse pension reform checklist for California

In a perfect world, California’s state and local public employees would receive exactly the same retirement benefits as federal employees. They would receive a modest defined benefit, a contributory 401K, and they would participate in Social Security. Unfortunately, in California, while some state and local public employees are offered 401Ks, and many participate in Social Security, all of...

By Edward Ring