04/24/2019

News

Do Early Polls on Split Roll Tell Us Anything?

Once again, PPIC tested the value of Proposition 13 with voters. And, once again likely voters declared Prop 13 worthy. Asked if Proposition 13 was mostly a good or a bad thing, 64% of likely voters said it was a good thing, only 24% responded it was mostly bad. The margin was larger than the […]

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Union schemes, scams and some pushback

As the Janus case (which ultimately would give public employees a choice whether or not to pay money to a union as a condition of employment) was headed to the Supreme Court, many unions saw the writing on the wall and cooked up “trap language” schemes. This chicanery only allows dissenting workers to quit a […]

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What delaying a big rate increase cost CalSTRS

To show the importance of acting quickly, the report to the Legislature will have a calculation of where CalSTRS funding would be if the rate increases enacted in 2014 had been promptly adopted after the 2008-09 financial crisis. “If we had been able to raise the rates, we would now be about 70 percent funded […]

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The Methuselah Annuity

The second-longest bull market in American history hasn’t stopped the deterioration of state and local pension funds, whose unfunded debt has almost quadrupled—by their own accounting—from about $360 billion in 2007 to $1.4 trillion today. Having relied on overly optimistic and inaccurate financial assumptions for decades, public pension administrators are now forced to acknowledge that […]

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Dan Walters: Could California pension system be underwater?

Very quietly, CalPERS officials told its governing board last month that the trust fund actually lost 3.9 percent during 2018, apparently due to the sharp stock market decline late in the year, pushing its funded level back down to about 67 percent. Having just two-thirds of the assets needed to cover pension promises should be […]

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Here’s how much California is spending to put electric cars on the road

California policymakers are committed to making sure that electric vehicles — and the charging stations and other infrastructure needs associated with them — transform the state’s transportation sector. But it won’t come cheaply. A review conducted by the San Diego Union-Tribune showed various state agencies have committed $2.46 billion in public funds — some of […]

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Poll: Just 13 percent want ‘Medicare for all’ if it means end of private insurance

In a Hill-HarrisX survey released Thursday, 13 percent of respondents said they would prefer a health care system that covers all citizens and doesn’t allow for private plans, an approach that is sometimes referred to as “single-payer.” The most popular option, at 32 percent, consisted of a universal, government-operated system that also would allow people […]

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Single-payer health care isn’t popular in California

One of the most persistent ideas of Democratic politics in California — the push for single-payer health insurance — is favored by only 41 percent of voters statewide, while 46 percent would not swap their private insurance for a government-backed system, according to a poll released Wednesday, Feb. 6 by Quinnipiac University. That result comes […]

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Dan Walters: Will the one-percenters flee California’s high taxes?

After Cuomo complained, the Wall Street Journal reported that Florida is, indeed, seeing a new wave of well-to-do transplants from New York, New Jersey and other high-taxing states, sparking a real estate boom. So what about California and neighboring Nevada, which, like Florida and Texas, doesn’t have a state income tax? The Wall Street Journal […]

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Out-of-State Buyers Flock to Miami

A growing list of public officials in high-tax states are expressing alarm that big earners are bolting to low-tax states as new data suggests some home buyers are moving in response to the year-old change in the federal tax law. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo became the latest on Monday when he blamed a $2.3 […]

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Hot air balloons took off from California veterans home without state noticing, audit finds

A Napa Valley veterans home once criticized for building an adventure park on its grounds has been allowing a golf course to offer hot air balloon rides for years without a lease permitting the rides, according to a state auditor’s report released Tuesday. The report draws attention to a mix of leases that the California […]

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State and Local Sales Tax Rates, 2019

The five states with the highest average combined state and local sales tax rates are Tennessee (9.47 percent), Louisiana (9.45 percent), Arkansas (9.43 percent), Washington (9.17 percent), and Alabama (9.14 percent). The five states with the lowest average combined rates are Alaska (1.43 percent), Hawaii (4.41 percent), Wyoming (5.36 percent), Wisconsin (5.44 percent), and Maine […]

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Changing Prop. 13 Could Worsen Housing Crisis.

Implementing a split roll would mean that commercial property would be taxed at market value. That would bring in more revenue to schools and local governments. But supporters of the split roll stop the discussion at that point, and fail to discuss the far-reaching consequences of undoing Proposition 13. High housing costs were a constant […]

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The Effects of the Partial Shutdown Ending in January 2019

CBO estimates that the five-week shutdown delayed approximately $18 billion in federal discretionary spending for compensation and purchases of goods and services and suspended some federal services. As a result of reduced economic activity, CBO estimates, real (that is, inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2018 was reduced by $3 billion […]

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Sacramento City School District Bond Rating Drops Amid Budget Crisis

The Sacramento City Unified School District is grappling with a significant budget shortfall — and its bond rating also hit a low point this week. Rating agency Standard and Poor’s dropped the district’s general obligation bond rating to “BBB,” which the district wrote in a statement is “the lowest investment bond rating.” The bottoming-out of […]

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