Former State Sen. John Moorlach joins California Policy Center

Former State Sen. John Moorlach joins California Policy Center

TUSTIN, CA (Nov. 13, 2023) — Former California state Senator John Moorlach has joined California Policy Center (CPC) as senior fellow and director of CPC’s Center for Public Accountability.

“I’ve known John as a friend, a finance whiz and principled leader since Ronald Reagan’s second term,” said CPC president Will Swaim. “His consistent approach to fiscal conservatism in state and local government has earned him wide respect — except among government union leaders who have found in John a straight-shooting and implacable opponent of unrestrained government spending.”

“Reporters, government officials, and taxpayers appreciate John’s financial expertise. He’s a rare talent, and he brings recognized authority to CPC’s work to help Californians measure the health of their state and local governments,” Swaim said.

At CPC’s Center for Public Accountability, John joins VP of Government Affairs Lance Christensen, senior fellows Mark Moses and Edward Ring, and Research Manager Sheridan Swanson.

Trained as a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner, Moorlach began his career in public service in 1994 when he warned that then Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. “Bob” Citron’s risky investment strategies would imperil the county’s finances. 

Moorlach’s warnings proved prophetic: in December 1994, Orange County filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, then the largest municipal bankruptcy and portfolio loss in U.S. history. He was quickly appointed the county Treasurer-Tax Collector in 1995 and was re-elected three times.  

In 2006, voters elected John to serve the first of two terms on the Board of Supervisors, where he continued his work to reform the county’s budget practices. There, he sounded the alarm on the county’s growing unfunded liabilities. Among other innovations, John assisted in implementing new defined-benefit pension plan formulas years before Governor Jerry Brown included this strategy in his Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2012 (PEPRA). He also assisted in restructuring the county’s retiree medical (other post-employment benefits), reducing the county’s liability by some $1 billion and reducing the annual required contribution by some $100 million per year.

From 2015 to 2020, Moorlach served as the state senator for the 37th Senate district. 

Life post-Senate has allowed Moorlach to continue with a hobby that would terrify most: analyzing and rating state and local government finance. He admits it’s an odd labor of love.

“When I left the state Senate, I didn’t even pump the brakes,” Moorlach said. “I continued to review legislative bills, offered my opinion — and, sure, I kept looking over government finances.”

His current analysis has identified several troubled cities, as well as cities that haven’t reported their finances at all — a violation of state law. Even the state of California’s numbers are MIA, Moorlach says. 

“Californians deserve to know that their state is operating without basic, legally required financial reports,” Moorlach says. “The politicians don’t even know how much trouble they’re in.”

Moorlach grew up in Orange County, California. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the California State University, Long Beach in 1977. He and his wife, Trina, have three children and seven grandchildren.

California Policy Center (CPC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of government barriers to the freedom and prosperity of all Californians.

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