According to a 2014 study by U.S. Common Sense, a fiscal watchdog group founded by Stanford graduates, this policy decision has left San Francisco with by far the highest unfunded liabilities on a per-person basis of any California local government of significant size.
Fuller cited damning stats: CNBC ranked California the 5th most expensive state to live in the country in 2015, average monthly rent is 50 percent higher here than in the rest of the country, 40 percent of Californians are living at or near the poverty line and Californians have one of the highest tax burdens in the country.
One immediate result of the hikes has already appeared in Southern California, where the garment industry faces an especially rough road. Sung Won Sohn, former director of apparel company Forever 21 and economist at Cal State Channel Islands, told the Los Angeles Times a veritable “exodus has begun,” with manufacturers already tempted to shift garment production overseas to retreat from the Golden State still further. “The garment industry is gradually shrinking and that trend will likely continue.”
Three years later, California education reform groups increasingly question how the LCFF is working out. They cite little evidence of more resources going to struggling students and many instances of extra dollars going into general school district budgets, with the blessing of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
“A California governor is asked to sign historic, far-reaching legislation that could have unknown consequences — and tells the Legislature he will only go along if there is an escape clause that can be used if the law causes economic mayhem. That’s what happened in 2006 when Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with legislative leaders to shape Assembly Bill 32, the landmark law forcing a shift to cleaner, costlier sources of energy. And it’s what happened in the last month with Jerry Brown and the bill increasing the state’s minimum wage steadily until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022, which Brown signed Monday.”
By law, the state Controller’s office is supposed to audit Proposition 30’s Education Protection fund, which doles out the funds according to a strict formula. Although the law gave no time requirement, the audit has not yet happened and isn’t projected to be complete until around a month before the November election, which one critic says shows a lack of transparency.
A new rule designed to promote urban development and curb both car usage and greenhouse gas emissions may end up making cities less affordable and more congested, critics say.
Despite a concerted effort from Gov. Jerry Brown to keep California from slipping back into the financial abyss, the state’s finances remain threatened by massive unfunded obligations.
While gas taxes raked in 18 cents on the gallon in the recent past, the Times added, last year receipts plunged to 12 cents a gallon — with analysts predicting another drop this summer to just 10 cents.
As it illustrates, California education funding is finally booming. The $71.6 billion budget that Gov. Jerry Brown proposed in January would be the fifth consecutive year of growth since the Great Recession. If approved by the Legislature in June, the budget will be up 50 percent from 2011. Most of the increased funds have gone to teacher and staff salaries, which account for more than 85 percent of school budgets.
In isolated pockets around the state, government salaries, with their accompanying benefits, continue to go up.
Up and down California, public schools are enjoying a rapid rise in state funding. With the state’s economic gains and a temporary tax increase approved by voters in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $71.6 billion education budget for the next fiscal year is up more than 50 percent since 2011. Spending per student has increased more than $3,800 to a projected $14,550 this year.
Even before the current marathon drought, turf replacement subsidies have long been touted by the state government as a powerful way to get California homeowners to stop having water-guzzling lawns. But the federal government sees these subsidies as taxable income.
“The justices by a 6-3 vote overturned a state ruling and threw out a class-action lawsuit against DirecTV over its termination fees for customers who canceled its service,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “The high court said the Federal Arbitration Act calls for honoring arbitration agreements that are written into company contracts, regardless of whether there are more consumer-friendly protections set by states such as California.”
The University of California is being pressed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a long list of high-powered CEOs to count computer science as a math course in deciding whether applicants meet its minimum standards to be considered for admission.