Pensions

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

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

Why We Fight Government Unions

Why We Fight Government Unions

The California Policy Center, established in 2013, exists to expose and undermine the destructive power of government unions. Most Californians still don’t understand the threat these unions represent to the integrity of our democracy, the agenda of our politicians, and the solvency of our public institutions. Government unions, sometimes also referred to as public sector...

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

Time to Restructure Failing BART System

Time to Restructure Failing BART System

Of all the public agencies facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, public transit has taken the biggest initial hit. The reasons for this are obvious: when there’s a lockdown and businesses are closed, commuters stay home. And of those still fortunate enough to have places to go, few want to board...

By Edward Ring

How Much Do California’s City Workers Make?

How Much Do California’s City Workers Make?

With the economic shutdown devastating private sector employment in California, with small family-owned businesses the worst hit, how are California’s public employees doing? A recent report by NPR paints a grim picture, “Cities Have Never Seen A Downturn Like This, And Things Will Only Get Worse.” From the San Francisco Chronicle, “California cities warn of widespread...

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

Pensions in the time of a pandemic

Pensions in the time of a pandemic

Willfully blind to the reality of the fiscal impact of Covid-19, the teachers union is demanding billions from the already beleaguered American taxpayer. Long after the coronavirus fades into history, there will be many lingering effects. And high on that list very well may be the toll on public employee pensions and the beleaguered taxpayers...

By Larry Sand

Rates of Pay and Pension Debt in California’s Distressed Cities

Rates of Pay and Pension Debt in California’s Distressed Cities

Nobody needs reminding that California’s cities, like every other going concern in America, are heading for tough economic times. As recently as two months ago, robust collections of sales taxes, utility taxes, transient occupancy taxes, property taxes and other sources of taxes and fees were pouring money into municipal coffers. Now, with the economy abruptly...

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

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

Crisis shows why El Cerrito needs to heed State Auditor’s warning

Crisis shows why El Cerrito needs to heed State Auditor’s warning

The economic crisis arising from the public health crisis we now face shows why the state auditor was correct in calling out El Cerrito and several other California cities for their perilous financial positions during a decade of economic growth. While El Cerrito may have been able to “get away” with uncontrolled spending during good...

By Marc Joffe

Government Pensions Are Dividing Americans and Damaging the Economy

Government Pensions Are Dividing Americans and Damaging the Economy

Now that financial markets around the world are experiencing a long-overdue correction, the best we can hope for is that we hit bottom before a deflationary cascade causes a worldwide depression. Those economists who believe in the long-term debt cycle may claim that this time the end has arrived, and they may be right. COVID-19, oil price...

By Edward Ring