11/18/2019

News

Dan Walters: State tax reforms or state tax increases?

There is a substantial list of governance issues that former Gov. Jerry Brown said were important, but that he left on his desk for successor Gavin Newsom. For instance, although he and the Legislature enacted a very modest reform of public employee pensions, he repeatedly said it was only a first step and more was […]

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Dan Walters: Should California revive redevelopment?

California’s version of redevelopment hinged on the novel notion of “tax increment financing.” Local governments, cities mostly, could deem neighborhoods as “blighted,” borrow money through bonds to improve housing and other services, and repay the loans from the property tax “increments” that those improvements generated. For decades, those powers were gingerly used, although there were […]

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About that giant, surplus-plus budget surplus

What would you do with a $21.4 billion windfall? That’s essentially the question California is confronting amid record surplus projections in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first year in office. On one hand, the former San Francisco mayor showcased his progressive agenda by setting ambitious goals for universal preschool, expanding health coverage for undocumented immigrants, and proposing […]

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Opinion: Newsom’s bold proposal — a cost-of-living refund to make California affordable

Three-quarters of workers report living paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time. Half of households are unable to cover an emergency $500 expense. Housing costs in California just keep accelerating, hitting an all-time high in 2018. The basic building blocks of middle-class life — child care, health care, a college education — have […]

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Opinion: Think College Is Expensive? Wait Until It’s Free

But doesn’t a college education help lift the prospects of poor students who attend? Sometimes, said Mr. Vedder, but you have to graduate first. “Forty percent of our kids who go to college don’t graduate. We have a tremendous dropout rate, much bigger than the high-school dropout rate. These kids are saddled with a certain […]

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Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s free community college plan won’t be as easy as it sounds

California’s community college system has already implemented reforms to improve its performance, including an overhaul of its student placement system and improved course and career guidance for incoming students. These changes are expected to improve completion rates for students seeking a two-year degree. But far too many community college students are still struggling to transfer […]

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Gov. Gavin Newsom embraces an untested idea on how California’s rainy-day fund should work

Then, in his budget proposal last week, new Gov. Gavin Newsom asked lawmakers to set in motion plans to add even more to the fund — a total of $4.1 billion more over the next four years. To those who would suggest that that’s more than Proposition 2 says the account can hold, Newsom pointed […]

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Modern Monetary Theory Doesn’t Make Single-Payer Health Care Any Easier

You may have heard of Modern Monetary Theory, an approach to economics that is increasingly popular on the left, and which is sometimes mischaracterized (by advocates and especially detractors) as holding that budget deficits are either unimportant or inherently good for the economy. This week, freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Business Insider that MMT needs […]

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Strike or no strike, pensions problematic for LA schools

Strike or no strike, after a deal is ultimately reached on a contract for Los Angeles teachers, the school district will still be on a collision course with deficit spending because of pensions and other financial obligations. School systems across California are experiencing burdensome payments to the state pension fund while struggling to improve schools. […]

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Gavin Newsom’s first budget: Down payments made, but supporters still want more

More state-funded health care for undocumented immigrants. Nearly $2 billion for early childhood programs. Millions of dollars to spur housing construction. In his first week as California governor, Gavin Newsom promised something for nearly every key interest group that backed his campaign. He outlined new spending and policies on a wide array of issues in […]

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Despite record surplus, Gov. Newsom wants new water, phone taxes

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s has called for a first-ever water tax and an added fee on phone bills at a time when the state is enjoying what recently departed state Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor called “extraordinary” budget health. Newsom said last week that experts now forecast a $21.5 billion budget windfall in 2019-20. Until recent years, […]

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Commentary: How Sweden Overcame Socialism

Nearly half of millennials say they prefer socialism to capitalism, but what do they mean? “My policies most closely resemble what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told “60 Minutes.” Yet Sweden’s experiment with socialist policies was disastrous, and its economic success in recent decades is a […]

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South Korea Raised Taxes in Bid for Growth. So Far, It’s Not Working.

As President Trump leads a drive to slash taxes and pare back regulation, one major economy is taking a different approach. Under President Moon Jae-in, South Korea has raised taxes and the minimum wage in the name of economic growth. So far, it hasn’t worked out as planned. Growth has slowed, unemployment has risen and […]

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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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The economy is booming. Why are so many California schools broke?

Facing a $36 million deficit and a possible state takeover, the top budget officer at the Sacramento City Unified School District has a sober message for his counterparts around California. Sacramento is “just one of the first dominoes,” said John Quinto, the district’s chief business officer. By any measure, Sacramento City’s distress is worse than […]

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