Source: California Budget & Policy Center
March 10, 2017
The average full career (30 years work) pension for a retired public employee in California was $68,673 in 2015, not including benefits. This is in comparison to the average pay (not including benefits) for an active full-time worker in the private sector in California, which in 2015 was $54,326, and to the maximum Social Security Benefit for a high wage earner retiring at age 66, which in 2015 was $32,244. Put another way, the average public employee retiree with 30 years of service collects a pension (not including benefits) that is 26% greater than the average pay for a non-retired full time private sector worker, and more than twice the maximum Social Security benefit.
March 6, 2017
Facing insolvency, Santa Barbara’s Hope Elementary School district governing board laid off six full-time and three part time teachers, effective next academic year. . . During the 2016 school year, general fund expenditures exceeded revenues by $132,000. Among the district’s expenditures were a $146,000 contribution to CalPERS and a $458,000 contribution to CalSTRS.
March 6, 2017
The East Contra Costa Fire District (ECCFD) has financial problems because it pays more for retirement benefits than it does in salaries to current employees. With most of its staff eligible to retire on the 3% at 50 formula and at least two current retirees receiving more than $100,000 annually, the district is functioning as more of a retirement plan than as a firefighting unit. Rather than economize on its pension benefits, district leadership has closed fire stations and made repeated attempts to extract more taxpayer funds.
Jan. 10, 2017
We estimate that California state and local governments owe $1.3 trillion as of June 30, 2015. Our analysis is based on a review of federal, state and local financial disclosures. The total includes bonds, loans and other debt instruments as well as unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits promised to public sector employees. Our estimate of California government debt represents about 52% of California’s Gross State Product of $2.48 trillion. When added to the state’s share of the national debt, we find that California taxpayers are shouldering debt burdens on a par with residents of peripheral Eurozone states.
Oct. 27, 2016
As an indicator of economic hardship, the US Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) improves on the official poverty measure by better accounting for regional differences in the cost of living as well as for the various resources (including non-cash benefits like food assistance) that families use to cover expenses.
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Nov. 17, 2017 / Andrew Khouri

Nov. 17, 2017 / The Editorial Board