01/16/2019

News

Newsom wants extra pension payments as retirement liability tops $256B

Following Jerry Brown’s footsteps, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday he wants to make extra pension payments even as California’s retirement liabilities for state workers and teachers top $256 billion. In unveiling his first budget, flush with a surprisingly large surplus from a robust economy, Newsom said he wants to put an extra $3 billion into […]

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The Financial Context of the Imminent California Supreme Court Decision on the “California Rule”

Any day now, the California Supreme Court will rule on what may be one of the most significant cases affecting pension reform in California history. The case, CalFire Local 2881 vs. CalPERS, challenges one of the provisions of PEPRA(Public Employee Pension Reform Act) Governor Brown’s 2013 pension reform legislation. The plaintiffs argue that PEPRA’s abolition […]

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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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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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California’s golden pension rights need fixing

Quirky as airtime sounds, it’s the edge of a much larger issue on protecting pension rights embodied in the so-called California Rule. For decades, the courts have sided with arguments that pensions can’t be altered without compensation, an approached adopted by a dozen other states. . . . The political backdrop makes a court decision […]

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The Evolution of Retirement Incentives in the U.S.

Employment rates of older men and women in the U.S. have been rising for the past several decades. Over the same period, there have been significant changes in Social Security and private pensions, which may have contributed to this trend. In this study, we examine how the financial incentive to work at older ages has […]

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Opinion: The Gig Economy, Americans and The Future

Ultimately the gig economy, even as it uses the latest technology, represents something of a devolution of labor. Although widely associated as “progressive,” the arbiters of the gig economy are, perhaps unconsciously, recreating the conditions that led to the impoverishment of the peasants and mechanics — replaced by slaves — at the end of the […]

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California Today: Why Robots Are Replacing Humans in the Fields

From New York to California, the nation’s agricultural workers are aging. They are also in short supply, as fewer immigrants are arriving to replace those who retire, and younger generations are finding less physically taxing work. In a 2017 survey of farmers by the California Farm Bureau Federation, 55 percent reported labor shortages, and the […]

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A Downturn That Costs Jobs Could Catch the U.S. Unprepared

In 2009, mired in the depths of recession, Ohio’s unemployment trust fund went broke, prompting the state to borrow $2.6 billion from the federal government so it could keep sending checks to unemployed workers. Now, with the state unemployment rate down to 4.4%, the debt has been repaid and the trust fund has started to […]

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As CalPERS rates climb, how high can they go?

A new report shows a third of local governments in CalPERS will have police and firefighter employer rates next fiscal year that are at least 50 percent of pay, a level that a former CalPERS chief actuary believed a decade ago would be “unsustainable.” At the high end, the number of local governments with rates […]

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Silicon Valley wages have dropped for all except highest-paying jobs: report

Nine out of every 10 Silicon Valley jobs pays less now than when Netflix first launched in 1997, despite one of the nation’s strongest economic booms and a historically low unemployment rate that outpaces the national average. While tech workers have thrived, employees in the middle of Silicon Valley’s income ladder have been hit hardest […]

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CalSTRS at risk of disaster despite 2014 bailout

Four years after the state Legislature passed a bailout of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System that will nearly double annual direct contributions to the giant pension fund, a newly released internal report raises the prospect that the infusion of extra dollars may not protect CalSTRS from future disaster. The 2014 changes in funding required […]

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Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators (Job Market Paper)

Even in a unionized environment, where work tasks are similar, hourly wages are identical, and tenure dictates promotions, female workers earn $0.89 on the male-worker dollar (weekly earnings). We use confidential administrative data on bus and train operators from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to show that the weekly earnings gap can be explained […]

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Seattle’s Fake Free Lunch

A new study of Seattle’s minimum wage is being presented in some corners as a progressive vindication. But the details are pretty much what any Econ 101 student would predict: bad news for young, unskilled workers trying to gain a foothold in the economy. In 2015-16, Seattle phased in a wage floor of $13 an […]

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