10/14/2019

News

Pension Pinch Busts City Budgets

Nationwide, pension costs are eating up more of city general funds, leaving less money to spend on day-to-day needs, such as garbage pickup or parks maintenance. The median spending on pensions among the country’s 250 largest cities rose to 10% of general budgets in 2012, up from 7.75% in 2007, according to data provided to The Wall Street Journal by Merritt Research Services LLC.

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California Costliest Since ’08 Seen Spooking Buyers: Muni Credit

The biggest rally in five years in California debt has some investors balking on concern that the state’s finances are increasingly vulnerable to swings in the economy and tax revenue.

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Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads– Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – have pavements that are in substandard condition and provide an unacceptably rough ride to motorists, costing the average urban driver $377 annually, a total of $80 billion nationwide. In some areas, driving on deteriorated roadways costs the average driver more than $800 each year. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.

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Borrowing Eats Up Smaller Share of California Budget

“The cost of financing California government with bonds is expected to consume 7.7% of the state’s general fund tax revenue over the next year, according to a new report from the state Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

The total bill is pegged at $7.5 billion for principal and interest. That’s a reduction from last year, when it totaled $8.6 billion and was 8.8% of revenue.”

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PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government

Amid concerns about crime, half of Californians support the state’s plan to reduce prison overcrowding. Majorities favor regulating fracking, but Californians are divided on water policy. A slim majority support health care reform, an overwhelming majority favor immigration reform, and there are record-high levels of support for legalizing both same-sex marriage (61%) and marijuana (52%).

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State Auditor Eyes California’s Crumbling Infrastructure in Assessment of State

California’s State Auditor last week released its updated assessment of high-risk issues that loom over the state, and the failure to keep up with the state’s infrastructure needs made the cut.

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Cal-Tax Estimates California’s State and Local Debt at $443 Billion

“Gov. Jerry Brown has repeatedly pledged to tear down what he calls California’s “”wall of debt.””

But Brown’s definition of that debt wall – about $30 billion in accumulated deficits from recent state budgets – is less than 10 percent of the debt that state and local governments have amassed, according to a new compilation by the California Taxpayers Association, if one includes unfunded liabilities for public employee pensions.

Cal-Tax researchers counted $443 billion in state and local debts, roughly two-thirds of it carried by the state and the other third by local agencies. That’s the equivalent of a fifth of the state’s annual economic output and amounts to $11,600 for each of California’s 38 million residents. “

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Beyond the Wall of Debt: Detailing California’s Debt and Unfunded Liabilities

California state and local governments face more than $443 billion in outstanding liabilities from borrowing, deferrals, and other unfunded financial obligations.

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Getting Creative to Pay for Transportation as Funding Dries Up

Those in the California transportation infrastructure game are becoming even more worried. The head of the transit advocacy group Transportation California told the Sacramento Business Journal (paywall) that funding the capital region’s transportation needs will be increasingly challenging with federal funds drying up and state infrastructure bonds running out soon.

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Getting Creative to Pay for Transportation as Funding Dries Up

Those in the California transportation infrastructure game are becoming even more worried. The head of the transit advocacy group Transportation California told the Sacramento Business Journal (paywall) that funding the capital region’s transportation needs will be increasingly challenging with federal funds drying up and state infrastructure bonds running out soon.

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Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll Summary Report: 2011

This summary report provides statistics from the revised 2011 estimates for the employment of nearly 90,000 state and local governments in the United States. It shows statistics on the number of state and local government civilian employees and their gross payrolls for the month of March 2011. Statistics include government functions such as education, fire protection and police protection. Statistics are available for the nation and individual states.

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Annual Survey of Public Pensions, Summary Report: 2011

This report provides statistics on revenues, expenditures, financial assets and membership information for public employee retirement systems. Statistics are shown for retirement systems at the national, state and local government level. This publication presents data on public pension systems based on information collected from the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State- and Locally-Administered Defined Benefit Data.

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Public Agencies Bear the Cost of Electricity Rate Increases

California electric rates are among the highest in the country and it is likely that the lion’s share of future rate increases will be borne by commercial and industrial customers, such as public agencies. Why? Because California has embarked upon a significant number of policies that necessarily impact the state’s electricity supply and delivery system. As a result, electric rates continue to rise and ratepayers, including public agencies, are searching for ways to respond to the spiraling costs of this necessary service.

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California Sells $764 Million in Debt

California sold $764 million in debt Tuesday at lower-than-expected interest rates, a vote of investor confidence in the state’s improved finances.

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$3-billion Proposal to Repair Los Angeles Streets Advances

Los Angeles lawmakers Wednesday agreed to pursue further analysis of an ambitious $3-billion proposal to fix thousands of miles of the city’s most deteriorated streets.

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