Budget and Finance

Higher tuition hikes — for what purpose?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
boa constrictor

  Last week, on a post-election panel presented by Capitol Weekly, I raised the issue of potential tax increases being contemplated by public unions and other groups in the next election and said that one of the reasons more revenue was sought was to cover pension obligations. A union rep...

L.A. city spat pits Wall Street against unions

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Los Angeles city hall, wikimedia

The latest twist in Los Angeles city politics has shed light on an important new trend in fiscal politics. With new urgency, a coalition of public workers unions has demanded Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city leaders scuttle longstanding financial deals with Wall Street banks. As the Los Angeles...

See tax increases, think pensions

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

  Despite the ridicule heaped on bonuses offered public workers for simply doing their jobs – just one prime example: a librarian earning a bonus for helping members of the public find books – the California Retirement System board last week made sure the bonuses added to salaries will b...

SEC commissioner warns of financial crisis

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Growth of private debt,wikimedia

  Much of the country, and especially California, has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, which officially ended in June 2009. But recent federal government actions may be leading us into another financial crisis. That was the warning from Securities and Exchange Commissioner D...

VIDEO: The Truth (and Lies) about Income Inequality, with Grover Norquist

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
NEW: VIDEO: The Truth (and Lies) about Income Inequality, with Grover Norquist

Want to solve income inequality? Washington can't do it by hiking taxes. CalWatchdog.com editor Brian Calle discusses with American for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist.   ...

Controller’s website opens local governments’ books

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Chiang Website

State Controller John Chiang continues to deliver on his promise of government transparency. The state's chief financial officer announced Monday a new open-data website that provides Californians with more than a decade's worth of financial data for local governments. The site, ByTheNumbers.s...

CA high court asked to review bullet-train ruling

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Kings County

Arguing that an appellate court ruling endangers the public’s faith in future bond initiatives,  the attorneys for the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County group challenging the state's bullet-train plans on Tuesday asked the California Supreme Court to review the recent decision reversing trial-court rulings...

After gamble backfires, L.A. demands refund from banks

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
interest-rate-swaps-7

  In the San Francisco Bay area, public transit riders are paying $104 million in higher rider fees to cover the cost of exotic financial insurance known as an interest rate swap. In Detroit, the inability of the city to make interest rate swap payments signaled eventual bankruptcy. So the r...

Bill could double car registration fees

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
California traffic sign, wikimedia

  A bill that could double California counties’ vehicle registration fees has passed the Legislature, and is awaiting a signature or veto from Gov. Jerry Brown. Assembly Bill 2393, by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, authorizes counties to charge annual $2 registration fees on non...

CA Senate pushes $400M Hollywood tax credits

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Hollywood Sign

A California Senate committee wants to quadruple the entertainment industry subsidies keeping production in Hollywood. With a unanimous vote, the appropriations committee passed a $300 million increase in tax credits for film and television, bringing the size of the controversial program up to $...