02/19/2020

News

Legislation touted as pro-transparency will eliminate basic services

The fundamental purpose for a city or county is to serve its residents. If government is doing its job, then your streets are clean and safe, your public parks and buildings are maintained and the like. Taxpayers should be able to expect that government is spending their hard-earned dollars on critical services that improve their health, safety and quality of life. Assembly bill 1250, authored by Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, would severely limit a city or county from contracting for services with a private entity. The proposal encompasses virtually every service a city or county can contract for — services such as accounting, waste-hauling, park maintenance, street cleaning, wastewater treatment, legal services, drug treatment facilities, IT services, landscaping services and more. If this bill is passed, it will drive up cities’ and counties’ costs and add layers of complexity to contracting for services — so much so that agencies would have limited choices for contracting services, or would be forced to eliminate specific services altogether.

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Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility

We characterize rates of intergenerational income mobility at each college in the United States using administrative data for over 30 million college students from 1999-2013. We document four results. First, access to colleges varies greatly by parent income. For example, children whose parents are in the top 1% of the income distribution are 77 times more likely to attend an Ivy League college than those whose parents are in the bottom income quintile. Second, children from low and high-income families have very similar earnings outcomes conditional on the college they attend, indicating that there is little mismatch of low socioeconomic status students to selective colleges. Third, upward mobility rates – measured, for instance, by the fraction of students who come from families in the bottom income quintile and reach the top quintile – vary substantially across colleges. Much of this variation is driven by di↵erences in the fraction of students from low-income families across colleges whose students have similar earnings outcomes. Mid-tier public universities such as the City University of New York and California State colleges tend to have the highest rates of bottom-to-top quintile mobility.

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Off-ramp Provisions in Proposed Minimum Wage Expansion

The proposed minimum wage expansion (SB 3) contains two triggers under which a governor may—but is not required to—delay a programmed minimum wage increase by one year. These provisions are intended to mitigate state budget costs in the event of a future recession, which Governor Brown repeatedly and most recently in the January Proposed Budget has warned as being “an event not too far off given the historic pattern of the ten recessions that have occurred since 1945.”

Research & Studies
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State-Local Tax Burden Rankings FY 2012

The most pronounced changes in burden as a share of income between 2011 and 2012 occurred in California (decrease of 0.5 percentage points), Illinois (increase of 0.5 percentage points), and Connecticut (increase of 0.4 percentage points). Most states saw a decrease in burden percentage (35 states), while eight saw an increase. Seven states’ burden percentages remained the same.

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Solyndra Times Five: What’s Up With the $2.65 Billion in Federal Loans to Abengoa?

Based in Spain, Abengoa SA is teetering on the verge of insolvency after applying for creditor protection last week. The renewable giant got — from the U.S. Department of Energy — loan guarantees of $1.45 billion to build the Solana solar plant in Arizona and $1.2 billion to construct the Mojave Solar Project in California.

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French Power Providers Face 11 pct Rise in Renewables Surcharge in 2016

The rising cost of funding renewable energy means utility EDF and other French power providers face an 11 percent rise next year in a surcharge they pay that is used to subsidise the renewable sector, the energy watchdog said on Thursday. That is less than the 17 percent rise this year, however.

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The Disruption Proceeds

This is a classic case of blue model disruption. On the one hand, it chips away at embedded costs—high prices for trucking are like a tax on the economy, making everything more expensive. On the other hand, the beneficiaries of the old system, included truckers who benefitted from fixed rates and union wages, are in the crosshairs. Global competition and technological innovation made the old system harder and harder to maintain, and now technological innovation could be poised to kick out the last leg of an already tottering stool.

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Daniel Borenstein: CalPERS’ Protracted Plan for Reducing Investment Risk Leaves Pension System Vulnerable

CalPERS officials know they have a serious problem: The nation’s largest pension system holds too many risky investments to adequately withstand the next big economic downturn. Yet the only proposal under consideration to shore up the system would take decades to properly rebalance CalPERS’ portfolio. If the next major recession comes before that, the retirement system will have to sock state and local governments with devastating rate increases at a time when they can least afford it.

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California Economy is Projected to Grow Faster than US Through 2020

“The forecast from the LAEDC expects job growth of 2.9% this year and 2.4% next year, compared with 2.1% and 1.8% for the nation overall. A similar report released this week by the UCLA Anderson Forecast pegged job growth in California at 2.2% next year and 1.4% in 2017.”

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California’s High Health Enrollment Surpasses Projections

he result has been an enrollment spike among both newly eligible people and California’s existing Medi-Cal population. In January 2014, the state estimated a total of 1.4 million people would be added to Medi-Cal at a cost of $390 million for one year. In reality, 3.7 million people joined, costing the state more than $1 billion, according to state figures for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

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California’s Crop Harvest Much Smaller than Usual

With harvest time across California, many of the state’s once-robust crops — from the grapes that make world-famous wines to popular almonds — are anticipated to be smaller than usual this year due to the state’s historic drought.

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The Effects of California’s Energy Policy on Opportunity in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County has a unique history as a place of opportunity and growth—of providing a wide range of opportunity for people of all backgrounds, educational levels, and income groups. It is particularly famous as an engine of opportunity for the middle class—it is iconic as a place of suburbs clustered around suburbs. The absence of a core city center around which all regional activity is clustered is a testament to the overwhelming rise of a middle class who desired the relative space and distance that the suburban experience provides.

Research & Studies
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Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs than Better-Paid Ones

The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants.

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The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look

For decades after World War II, California was a destination for Americans in search of a better life. In many people’s minds, it was the state with more jobs, more space, more sunlight, and more opportunity. They voted with their feet, and California grew spectacularly (its population increased by 137 percent between 1960 and 2010). However, this golden age of migration into the state is over. For the past two decades, California has been sending more people to other American states than it receives from them. Since 1990, the state has lost nearly 3.4 million residents through this migration.

Research & Studies
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San Joaquin Valley Farmers Take Drastic Measures to Deal with Drought

San Joaquin Valley farmers are idling thousands of acres, bulldozing hundreds of trees and shifting production of some crops out of the area as the state enters its third straight year of dry weather.

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