Los Angeles County fell sharply in an annual ranking of job growth and economic performance among metropolitan areas, according to a Milken Institute report released on Jan. 10.
According to the institute’s annual Best Performing Cities index of the 200 largest cities and metropolitan areas in the nation, Los Angeles County fell to the No. 61 spot from No. 48 last year, a drop of 13 in the rankings. The main reason for the drop: a slowdown in job growth in the 12-month period from August 2016 through August 2017.
Session after session, California’s leaders find new taxes to raise. There’s never enough money to pay for all the social programs they desire — not just for the citizenry, but for anyone who might happen to be here legally or otherwise. Indeed, the single-payer healthcare proposal that actually passed the state Senate would have crushed the entire state budget, even by the Legislature’s own analysis. Any resident would be entitled to “free” medical care even if they wandered here last week. This would certainly have provided a new spin on the term “medical tourism.” Someone needs to pay for this. And someone also needs to pay for all those six-figure public-employee salaries, pensions, and pension-spiking gimmicks. Someone needs to pay for throngs of highly paid Caltrans workers who, according to a state audit, have little to do. Someone also has to pay for a needless $68-billion high-speed rail system and that needless $17 billion project to bore twin tunnels underneath the California Delta and that needless mini state-based Social Security system that’s meant to deal with the common folks’ “pension envy.” (I know, legislators promise that the latter won’t burden taxpayers.) That someone is, of course, us.
Several major companies, perhaps eager to boost public opinion for the tax overhaul that dramatically slashed their taxes, said Wednesday that they will boost employee pay and bonuses in the wake of federal tax law changes.
Congress passed the most sweeping tax reform since 1986 on Wednesday, and with any luck that success for the country will trigger a new reform debate in many states. To wit, how much will they have to cut income-tax rates to retain and attract the high-income earners who finance so much of their state budgets? You can figure out who most needs reform by the decibels of protest. Amid other apocalyptic warnings, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last weekend declared that the GOP bill’s limit on the state-and-local tax deduction will trigger “an economic civil war” between high- and low-tax states. California Governor Jerry Brown has likened Republicans to “mafia thugs” while Mr. Cuomo calls the bill a “dagger at the economic heart of New York.” By heart, he apparently means the state’s top earners who pay for Albany’s ever-higher spending.
Despite the State’s efforts, we identified certain weaknesses in its processes for detecting workers’ compensation fraud. For example, although state law requires insurers to refer to CDI and district attorneys’ offices any claims that show reasonable evidence of fraud, insurers vary significantly in the number of fraud referrals they submit. We calculated the referral rates for 21 insurers that each had more than $150 million in earned workers’ compensation premiums for 2015 and 2016.