10/15/2018

News

FISCAL POLICY REPORT CARD ON AMERICA’S GOVERNORS 2018

The U.S. economy is in its 10th year of economic expansion, and state government budgets are benefiting from a solid growth in tax revenues. State general fund revenues have grown 40 percent since 2010. Many of the nation’s governors have used the growing revenues to expand spending programs, whereas others have pursued reductions in taxes. […]

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California state worker union accepts contract with 10 percent pay hike

A small California state employee union decided on Thursday that a contract with two more consecutive years of 5 percent raises was too good to pass up in the waning months of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. The California Association of Professional Scientists approved the contract by a vote of 802 to 339. It will give […]

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Everything You Know About State Education Rankings Is Wrong

You probably think you know which states have the best and worst education systems in the country. If you regularly dip into rankings such as those published by U.S. News and World Report, you likely believe schools in the Northeast and Upper Midwest are thriving while schools in the Deep South lag. It’s an understandable […]

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California’s school ‘achievement gap’ proves persistent

Generally, California’s six million K-12 students are not doing very well academically, as comparisons with pupils in other states on standardized federal tests have shown, and that’s particularly true of poor and English-learner students. The study’s findings were underscored last week by the release of the state’s latest “Smarter Balanced” test results. Once again, they […]

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Just How Much Money Might CalPERS Have to Collect in an Economic Downturn?

How would a downturn affect all of California’s public employee pension systems, the agencies they serve, and the taxpayers who fund them? In a CPC analysis published earlier this year, “How to Assess Impact of a Market Correction on Pension Payments,” the following excerpt provides an estimate: “If there is a 15% drop in pension […]

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Also on the November ballot? Lots and lots of school bonds

Californians in November will weigh billions of dollars’ worth of ballot measures for low-income housing, children’s hospitals and more. But one of the biggest asks will be mostly invisible to most voters—100 or more local proposals to sell bonds for school construction projects that, if passed, could total more than $12 billion in local borrowing […]

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Sacramento schools’ money trouble just got worse: $48 million in cuts over two years

The Sacramento City Unified School District is even more in the red than previously thought: By 2020, the district will have a structural deficit of $48 million by 2020 if cuts aren’t made, a gap that’s almost $12 million more than announced in June, and $8 million more than the district’s most recent estimates. “It’s […]

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San Jose has built just 64 of 10,000 affordable housing units planned for 2022

A year after Mayor Sam Liccardo outlined a new housing plan, San Jose has made slow progress in reaching its ambitious goal of adding 10,000 affordable homes by 2022. How slow? Just 64 units had been completed by the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year this June, according to a new report from the city’s […]

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The Transbay Transit Center has been shut down amid concerns about a cracked steel beam

The $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center opened Aug. 12 after years of delays and cost overruns. Six weeks later, the Salesforce Transit Center, as its now known, has been shut down after “crews today discovered a fissure in one of the steel beams in the ceiling,” according to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the public […]

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Transit Week gets off to rough start as train delays disrupt officials’ commutes

San Francisco officials who took light rail Monday morning to kick off a citywide Transit Week event were held up when trains broke down on two Muni lines. What was supposed to be a celebration of mass transit became an indictment of the city’s unreliable light rail system. “This just shows how we need reinvestment […]

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Can California’s next governor fix the state’s problems? It depends on Palo Alto

“The “birthplace of Silicon Valley” sits in Palo Alto’s 94301 ZIP Code — a wooden Craftsman one-car garage where 80 years ago the technology behemoth Hewlett-Packard was formed. Palo Alto has been seen as a technological vanguard ever since, a futurist playground brimming with programmers and engineers pioneering the next big breakthrough. But it’s not […]

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Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Improved Data and Oversight Would Strengthen Cost Assessment and Fraud Risk Management

GAO identified wide variation in development costs and several cost drivers for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects completed in 2011–2015. Across 12 selected allocating agencies, median per-unit costs for new construction projects ranged from about $126,000 (Texas) to about $326,000 (California). Within individual allocating agencies, the variation in per-unit cost between the least and […]

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Housing Was Undersupplied during the Great Housing Bubble

ust a few cities are at the heart of the housing supply problem, most notably New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco, which I refer to as Closed Access cities. There are two very different housing markets within the United States: the Closed Access market, where new housing is highly constrained, rents rise […]

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Political expediency worsens long-term consequences

The Sacramento Unified School District offers us another example of how expediency can backfire. Late last year, the district’s teachers were threatening to strike for higher pay, and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg intervened, mediating a new contract that averted the strike and gave teachers an 11 percent raise. Later, it emerged that the money for […]

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“Subsidizing Fuel Efficient Cars: Evidence from China’s Automobile Industry “

The Chinese automobile market is the largest in the world with annual sales exceeding 20 million vehicles. The tremendous growth in sales – over 200 percent from 2008 to 2015 – and concerns over local air quality have prompted China’s policy makers to incentivize the adoption of more fuel efficient vehicles. We examine the response […]

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