01/16/2019

News

Newsom seeks changes across government in first budget

Enjoying the tailwinds of a massive surplus and large Democratic supermajorities in both houses, Gov. Gavin Newsom is using his first budget proposal to put his policy stamp on nearly every sector of California government. The Democratic governor described Thursday — in detail, for nearly two hours — how he would use his $209 billion […]

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U.S. Consumer Prices Ticked Lower in December

Tame inflation, low gas prices and rising wages are putting more dollars in the pockets of American workers, a positive sign for consumer spending headed into 2019. After adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in December from a year earlier, the strongest rate of growth since September 2016, the Labor […]

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Steven Greenhut: Here Comes the Spending Spree!

The California Legislature gets its share of national attention for some of the wackadoodle bills that it routinely signs into law. It’s 2019, which means that it’s now illegal for full-service restaurants to provide straws with sodas unless a customer specifically asks for one. Furthermore, water and unflavored milk must now be the default option […]

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Finally, a Crackdown on Misuse of Taxpayer Money

Although state law specifically prohibits public officials from using taxpayers’ money for political campaigning, they have been doing exactly that throughout California. Local governments hire “consultants” to poll voters on what tax and bond measures they would find acceptable, to draft those proposals accordingly and, finally, to run so-called “information” campaigns to persuade voters to […]

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California’s State and Local Liabilities Total $1.5 Trillion

We estimate that California’s total state and local government debt as of 6/30/2017 totaled just over $1.5 trillion. That total includes all outstanding bonds, loans, and other long-term liabilities, along with the officially reported unfunded liability for other post-employment benefits (primarily retiree healthcare), as well as unfunded pension liabilities. Our findings may appear to contradict […]

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Proposition 13 is no longer off-limits in California

Proposition 13 is untouchable. That’s been the thinking for 40 years in California. Politicians have feared for their careers if they dared suggest changes to the measure that capped property taxes, took a scythe to government spending and spawned antitax initiatives across the country. However, that is beginning to change. With Republican influence in California […]

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California is aiming for 100% clean energy. But Los Angeles might invest billions in fossil fuels

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is leaning toward spending billions of dollars to rebuild three aging gas-fired power plants, even as California aims to eliminate fossil fuels, a goal endorsed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Consultants hired by the utility say the city should invest those ratepayer dollars in continuing to burn natural […]

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STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS’ FISCAL OUTLOOK: 2018 Update

What’s the prognosis for the fiscal health of state and local governments across the nation? Our annual outlook suggests the sector will have an increasingly tough time covering their bills over the next 50 years. Our model shows both revenue and spending will increase; however, spending will rise faster. Revenues may be insufficient to sustain […]

Research & Studies
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The Mixed Ledger of Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown steps down next month as California’s governor, and to much of the country, he is West Coast liberalism personified, having battled the Trump administration on climate change, immigration and other hot-button issues. But in the state capital of Sacramento, the liberal lion has made his mark in a different and perhaps surprising way: […]

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Many States See Strong Revenue

States’ revenue collections are off to a strong start in the current fiscal year, building on gains pegged to the expanding economy and help from the federal tax overhaul. With most states nearing the midpoint of their fiscal years, which end June 30, at least 19 of them are seeing higher-than-expected general-fund revenue, according to […]

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PG&E rate proposal would raise typical bill more than $10 a month

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. asked regulators Thursday for permission to raise nearly $2 billion in new revenue from ratepayers over three years, starting in 2020, with more than half the proceeds going to cover wildfire prevention work. If it is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, the proposal would increase an average residential […]

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Rethinking California’s electric utilities

Beginning with a misbegotten and misnamed “deregulation” of the utilities 22 years ago – which drove PG&E into bankruptcy – the state has been, by legislation and regulatory decrees, increasingly micromanaging how they generate, distribute and price electric power. They have slowly evolved into quasi-governmental entities while maintaining the façade of private ownership, but without […]

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Get Ready to Worry About Inflation Again

Investors haven’t had to worry too much about inflation lately. In the coming year, that might no longer be the case. The Labor Department on Wednesday reported that consumer prices were unchanged in November from October, putting them 2.2% above their year-earlier level. Core prices, which exclude food and energy prices to better capture inflation’s […]

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The first shots in the climate wars

Macron’s policies rest on the notion on-going climate catastrophe embraced by media, the academy and the intelligentsia. Every time weather takes a nasty turn as it often does — heat waves, downpours, forest fires, floods — it’s often attributed to climate change. This leads to the notion that we need to embrace climate “hysteria,” as […]

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GM Bids Farewell to Its Breakthrough Electric Car

The plug-in electric vehicle won praise from auto critics who heralded the car as an engineering marvel when it was introduced in 2010. The acclaim eased some of the pain from GM’s bankruptcy at the time and showed that Detroit could still develop an enviable vehicle. The Volt, though, was also a big money loser […]

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