Pension Reform

CalSTRS bailout will be CA version of budget sequester

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

On April 10, 2012, I wrote an op-ed for the L.A. Daily News with an unusual take on what ultimately would kill the bullet train. My theory was that the teachers unions would fight to keep a new mouth from the trough of the general fund because of the long-term need to maintain a status quo in which ...

Typical Sacramento: Weak CalSTRS fix made even weaker

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

So Gov. Jerry Brown is finally forced by events to come up with a CalSTRS pension rescue plan. And as Dan Borenstein points out, it's so cautious that it doesn't prevent CalSTRS' underfunding from getting worse for some time to come: "For more than a decade, lawmakers have ignored the increasing sh...

Brown’s CalSTRS fix hammers districts, protects teachers

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Contrary to the impression given by some of the current coverage of Sacramento's attempts to shore up the California State Teachers' Retirement System, the underfunding problem hasn't been completely ignored for all these years. Here's what I wrote about the last serious attempt to change a broken f...

Longevity breakthroughs make gov pensions even more of a gold mine

Monday, May 5th, 2014

On Sunday the Drudge Report sent Twitter abuzz with the report of a hugely significant breakthrough on aging and longevity: "It may seem the stuff of gothic horror novels, but transfusions of young blood could reverse the ageing process and even cure Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists believe. ... ...

Why CalSTRS fix is impossible: It would force cut in teacher take-home pay

Friday, April 11th, 2014

The California State Teachers' Retirement System is terribly underfunded. The last official report put its shortfall at $74 billion. State officials say it needs an infusion of $4 billion more money a year for decades to come. This week, as reported by Cal Watchdog founding editor Steve Greenhut ...

CA media: GOP dysfunction bigger topic than mass poverty

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The Los Angeles Times' news analysis about how recent controversies are likely to hurt California Republicans with two constituencies they are trying to woo -- Latinos and women -- isn't loaded or biased. It's likely true. Here's a bit of it: "On Monday, a GOP gubernatorial candidate's inflammatory...

No, San Jose not struggling to retain city workers — just police

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
City Hall

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Coverage of L.A. ‘pothole tax’ never mentions why budget is bare

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The city of Los Angeles' finances are in terrible shape. The city's economy is sluggish and revenue is stagnant. Meanwhile, retirement benefits for retired city workers -- especially police and firefighters -- eat up ever more of the budget. “As of June 30, 2013, the City’s two pension funds,...

Pension follies: New Jersey adopts insane San Diego approach

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
wimpy

California leads the way when it comes to government pension dysfunction. The first big city to be stricken by pension costs in the U.S. was San Diego, leading to the memorable 2004 New York Times' description of it as "Enron by the Sea." Since then, three cities in the Golden State have either e...

L.A. proposal: That’s a pension tax — not a pothole tax

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
dd-poster

This proposal -- allegedly from Los Angeles bureaucrats but almost certainly from new L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti -- got the scorn it deserved on libertarian and conservative websites when it came out Wednesday afternoon: "L.A.'s elected officials should put a half-cent sales tax hike on the November...