Topic: Cost of Living
News
June 23, 2017

All California’s agencies conduct important work that protects and provides for the public, and all are held accountable to the people by conducting the SRIA. Cal/OSHA’s process is not different and does not warrant a special exemption. SB 772 excuses Cal/OSHA from this important analysis, allowing regulations having a significant impact on the economy to avoid the close scrutiny that would reveal their true costs and any unintended consequences.

The bill’s proponents suggest that the cost and benefit analysis of a regulation is completely satisfied by the debate in the Legislature, advisory meetings, and the public notice and comment process required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). This is not true – The regular rulemaking process does not adequately address economic impacts and alternative policy approaches.

News
June 23, 2017

Borrowing to make the extra payment would not reduce the state’s overall debt, obviously. Brown contends that it would save money in the long run, because the interest paid on the loan would be less than the projected growth of pension debt.

It’s quite similar to the “pension obligation bonds” that local governments have floated, hoping to come out ahead via arbitrage, but they have sometimes backfired, and Brown is betting $6 billion that CalPERS can achieve its 7 percent annual earnings goal despite what the governor describes as “poor investment returns.” Even if this fiscal gimmick works as hoped, the state’s retirement debt will continue to grow.

The state’s regular payments to CalPERS fall way short of what would be needed to keep the debt from growing, much less pay it down. Overall, CalPERS has less than two-thirds of the money it needs to cover all pension commitments.

News
June 23, 2017

Governor Jerry Brown and the California Legislature have approved a scheme under which a special state fund filled with citizen-paid fees will lend money to the state General Fund, which in turn will contribute the proceeds to a state pension fund that in turn will invest in stocks in the hope of generating profits to help reduce pension deficits. In doing so, Brown and legislature haven’t disclosed to citizens that the same profits, if earned, could’ve been used for more citizen services. . . . Though Jerry Brown has not used his recent two terms in office to address core fiscal issues, until now he has generally avoided budgetary gimmicks. This time is different.

News
June 22, 2017

One of California’s wealthiest counties may continue to get a pass under the state’s affordable housing laws. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow parts of Marin County to limit growth more tightly than other regions of California. The provision, inserted last week into a bill connected to the state budget, lets Marin County’s largest cities and unincorporated areas maintain extra restrictions on how many homes developers can build. . . . Since the changes are tied to last week’s passage of the state budget, which Brown has yet to sign, the measure does not have to go through the regular committee process. It’s had just one public hearing and lawmakers could vote on the bill as early as Thursday. . . . Today, the county’s per capita income of $60,236 is the highest of any county in the state, according to U.S. census figures. But the average renter in Marin County makes just $19.21 an hour and would need to work 77 hours a week to afford a studio apartment at the $1,915-a-month market rate, according to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

News
June 21, 2017

California energy regulators say the state could benefit from sharing more electricity with its neighbors during heat waves such as this week’s, but a proposal to do so has stalled after the election of President Trump. . . . “We will reduce costs for everybody. We will reduce pollution. We will improve system reliability, and these are all reasons to do this,” says Cavanagh. Last August, Gov. Jerry Brown wrote to leadership in the Legislature that he would look to pass a proposal earlier this year. “I have directed my staff, the Energy Commission, the Public Utilities Commission and the California Air Resources Board to continue working with the Legislature,” Brown wrote. “The goal is to develop a strong proposal that the Legislature can consider in January.” That still hasn’t happened, although the governor has maintained he still supports regionalization.

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