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California lawmakers have proposed more taxes and fees in the first half of the 2017-18 legislative session than in all of 2015 or 2016. If each proposal became law, the tax burden in California would increase by more than $373 billion per year. To put this in context, all revenue in the 2017-18 State Budget is expected to bring in $178.4 billion.

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One of the few great inescapable facts in the field of economics is the reality of the business cycle. No matter how high-flying an economy might appear, another recession is coming sooner or later. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to regularly predict when one might occur, or how severe it may be, but recessions and their place in the business cycle are an accepted fact of economic life. Therefore, preparing for recessions is an equally inescapable concept.

It has been more than eight years since the end of the last recession, the third longest period of expansion in U.S. history, and many are rightfully beginning to look ahead to the next economic downturn. However, one of the most effective ways to look forward is to look back and make sure that we have adequately learned the lessons of the Great Recession. Nowhere is this type of postmortem more appropriate than for state and local governments.

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The Center for a Competitive Workforce has produced a report analyzing 20 middle-skills occupations for which community colleges offer degree and certificate programs. The occupations are employed by six key industries with a competitive advantage in the greater Los Angeles region. Read highlights of the report below, or download the full report PDF.

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This Working Paper focuses on this challenge through multiple case studies, covering both state and local governments. The case studies demonstrate a marked increase in both employer pension contributions and unfunded pension liabilities over the past 15 years, and they reveal that in almost all cases that costs will continue to increase at least through 2030, even under the assumptions used by the plans’ governing bodies—assumptions that critics regard as optimistic. It examines the impacts of increased pension contributions on other expenditures, including services traditionally considered part of government’s core mission. Pension costs have crowded out and will likely to continue to crowd out resources needed for public assistance, welfare, recreation and libraries, health, public works, other social services, and in some cases, public safety.

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The reported cuts would dwarf the 600 layoffs the firm reported last year to California authorities, and would eliminate some 5,000 employees — 10 percent of its workforce, the report said.

“The cuts at the company, which has about 50,000 workers, are likely to affect workers in the U.S. and abroad, including managers,” Bloomberg reported, based on unnamed sources.

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Nov. 17, 2017 / Andrew Khouri

Nov. 17, 2017 / The Editorial Board