11/15/2019

News

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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Will Norway’s Electric-Vehicle Boom Outlast Its Incentives?

No other country on Earth has bet as big on electric vehicles as Norway, and it’s finally paying off. Half of all new cars sold to Norwegians are either fully electric or hybrid, making the country of 5.3 million the biggest per-capita market for EVs. Norway’s EV success is owed to both the carrot and […]

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Stock Market, Housing, Economy Signal State and Local Budget Woes in 2019-20

The typical analysis of state and local government finances is that they are primarily a function of the economy. When the economy is growing well, and especially when it is growing faster than expected, local and state government finances prosper. When the economy grows, more people are employed and employees have larger paychecks. State income […]

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Universal basic income had a rough 2018

Back in June we declared, “Basic income could work—if you do it Canada style.” We talked to the people on the ground getting the checks in Ontario’s 4,000-person test and saw how it was changing the community. Then, just two months later, it was announced that the program is ending in the new year rather […]

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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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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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Can California afford Gavin Newsom’s vision for school kids? Here’s your K-12 primer for 2019

Early childhood education. A top-tier national ranking for K-12 per-pupil spending. A data system that would track kids from nursery school through state universities. California’s Legislature won’t reconvene until 2019, but the Christmas wish list for public schools is already long and pricey. On the first day of session, Democratic lawmakers introduced two major education […]

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Some L.A. pensions are so huge they exceed IRS limits, costing taxpayers millions extra

Dozens of retired Los Angeles employees are collecting such generous retirement pay that they exceed pension fund limits set by the Internal Revenue Service, saddling taxpayers with additional costs, a Times data analysis has found. Their lavish pensions forced the city to establish an “Excess Benefit Plan” to pay what the pension system cannot legally […]

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Jerry Brown predicts ‘fiscal oblivion’ if pensions are off limits for government employers

Gov. Jerry Brown warned this week that public agencies in California are on a track to “fiscal oblivion” if they’re barred from adjusting retirement benefits for their employees. He issued the warning in an interview with The Sacramento Bee three weeks after his attorneys defended his 2012 pension law at the California Supreme Court against […]

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State Audit Exposes High Speed Rail’s Epic Waste of Time and Money

Although the midterm election was held on November 6th, the news media was absorbed for several weeks with undecided close races and the strength of the “blue wave,” especially here in California. Perhaps that is why a report from the Auditor of the State of California on the High Speed Rail Project issued the following […]

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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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Why Aren’t People Signing Up For Free Money In Stockton?

At least 1,200 letters have been mailed out to households in Stockton offering a chance at receiving $500 a month, no strings attached, but not everyone is signing up. The program is part of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration or SEED. It’s the nation’s first city-led guaranteed basic income.

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Steven Greenhut: State’s Fiscal Fate in High Court’s Hands

The latest California craziness to make national news is the Public Utilities Commission’s plan to vote next month on a tax on cellphone text messaging to help fund phone programs for the poor. It is the latest example of our state’s undying commitment to taxing virtually anything we do. The state general fund has $15 […]

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Ending the electric-car subsidy

This type of cronyism is bad enough on principle alone. But it gets worse in the case of EV tax credits. For one thing, the cost is borne disproportionately by lower- and fixed-income families who can’t afford electric vehicles. Who’s taking advantage of the subsidies? Primarily America’s wealthiest households. They don’t need a tax break […]

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