The data show that, nationwide, transit’s share of travel grew from 5.03 percent in 2006 to 5.49 percent in 2015. This growth was at the expense of carpooling, as driving alone’s share also grew. In 2016, however, transit’s share fell to 5.36 percent while both driving alone and carpooling grew. Among major urban areas, transit’s share of commuting grew from 2015 to 2016 in Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and–amazingly–San Jose. But it declined in far more regions: Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco-Oakland, and Washington DC. It was flat (changed by 0.05 percent or less) in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and New York.
The City Employees’ Retirement System board, which oversees pension benefits for thousands of city workers, voted unanimously to cut its assumed rate of return — the yearly earnings expected from the agency’s investment portfolio — to 7.25%, down from 7.5%.
The decision is expected to shift $38 million in retirement costs onto the general fund budget, consuming funds that would otherwise pay for basic services. And it comes at a time of increased concern over the city’s growing pension burden.
Another pension agency, which oversees benefits for thousands of retired firefighters and police officers, recently reduced its own rate of return and recalculated the expected lifespan of its beneficiaries. Meanwhile, growth in the overall city payroll is also expected to push pension payments upward.
CalPERS plans to get local government reaction to a proposed new policy that would pay down new pension debt over a shorter period, yielding big savings in the long run but also requiring larger payments in the early years.
Employer rates for current debt or “unfunded liability” would not be changed, Scott Terando, CalPERS chief actuary, told the board last week.
But for new debt from investment losses, the payment period would be shortened from the current 30 years to perhaps 20 years, Terando said, and the higher debt payments from years with investment losses could be offset by lower payments from years with gains.
California’s legislative session, which completed its work in the wee hours Saturday morning, was one of the more controversial ones in years, given the degree to which the Democratic majority was able to secure various tax and fee increases. It was also one of the more divisive recent sessions from a partisan standpoint.
. . .Finally, California’s politically powerful unions got many of their priorities through this year’s legislative session. The most far-reaching measure, Assembly Bill 1513, would provide the names and personal information of home-care workers who work for private companies. That would enable unions to contact private-sector workers for organizing purposes.
The Legislature also passed Senate Bill 63, which expands the state’s family leave law, applying it to companies with at least 20 employees. It also passed AB1461, which would require employees at some companies that provide meal-delivery services to get a “food-handlers’ card.” Similar to the home-care bill, unions would then have access to these workers’ private information for organizing purposes.
Leaders of the U.S.’s largest companies plan to ramp up hiring in the coming months, as management teams eye regulatory rollbacks and the possibility of a tax overhaul.
The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook’s employment measure, which gauges chief executives’ hiring plans, rose to 80.2 in the third quarter of 2017, the highest reading in more than six years.
. . . More the half of the CEOs questioned in the second-quarter survey said they would scrap current plans for hiring and investment if Congress doesn’t change the tax code, but, during the third-quarter survey announcement, Mr. Bolten wouldn’t give specific tax rates the Business Roundtable would want to see in a bill.