California’s second-largest public pension fund rode a booming stock market to post its best year of investment returns since 2014.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System gained an investment return of 13.4 percent for the budget year that ended June 30.
The earnings eclipsed the 1.4 percent net return that CalSTRS reported a year ago, and the 4.8 percent gain the pension fund notched in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2015.
Workers who retire from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power enjoy a higher monthly pension, on average, than retired public employees from the city and county, according to an audit released this week by City Controller Ron Galperin. LADWP retirees received an average monthly pension payment of $5,212 in the fiscal year ending July 1, 2015, the audit said. That figure is higher than the $4,023 average monthly payment for other city retirees and the $3,881 pension amount per month for retired county workers, amounts that are used as comparisons in the audit performed by contractor, Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting.
State and local governments collected an average of $1,070 per person from individual income taxes, but the collection amount varies widely from state to state. New York collected $2,699 per person, the most of any state. Connecticut comes in second at $2,162, with Maryland rounding out the top three at $2,097 collected per person. Arizona collected $515 per person, the least among states with broad-based taxes on wage income. Other states with relatively low collections include Mississippi ($557), Louisiana ($592), and New Mexico ($622). New Hampshire and Tennessee, which tax only interest and dividend income, collected $70 and $37 per person respectively. The seven states that don’t collect individual income taxes predictably reported $0 in per person collections.
Apple, Google and Microsoft are sitting on a mountain of cash -- and most of it is stashed far away from the taxman. Those three tech behemoths held a total of $464 billion in cash at the end of last year, according to a Moody's report published Wednesday. Apple alone had a stunning quarter-trillion dollars of cash thanks to years of gigantic profits and few major acquisitions. That's enough money to buy Netflix three times. It's also more cash than what's sitting on the balance sheet of every major industry except tech and health care. . . .But corporations' reluctance to spend that money is holding the recovery back. Cash sitting on the balance sheet is money that isn't being put to work on job-creating investments like new factories.
Its critics say that Proposition 13, which restricts taxes to 1 percent of property values and caps increases in those values at 2 percent a year, has starved schools and local governments of vital revenue. However, the latest data on homes, farms and commercial and industrial property, compiled by county property assessors, tell a much different story. Assessors completed their 2017-18 rolls of taxable property this month and are reporting about a 5 percent statewide gain to approximately $5.75 trillion – yes, that’s trillion with a “t” – in taxable value. That huge figure will translate into at least $65 billion in property taxes, including levies to repay bonds, which are exempt from the 1 percent limit. . . .The most eye-popping number, however, is the immense growth in property tax revenue – well over 50 percent during the last decade alone and about 1,000 percent since 1978, when Proposition 13 was overwhelmingly passed by voters. The Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, points out that “the property tax has grown faster than the economy” since then.