Archive for the ‘ Budget ’ Category

InlandPolitics: Time for SBCERA to lower projected returns

SBCERA

Monday, May 2 , 2016 – 12:00 p.m.

It’s time for the San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association (SBCERA) to face reality regarding what it will make on investments in the future.

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The Sacramento Bee: California scores lowest on Moody’s fiscal ‘stress test’

Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown carries notebook paper after unveiling his proposed 2016-17 state budget at the Capitol on Jan. 7. Brown warned that the state is overdue for a recession and needs to build reserves to cushion the effects of an economic downturn. (Renée C. Byer – rbyer@sacbee.com)

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
April 22, 2016 – 2:51 PM

  • Texas shines in ability to absorb a recession
  • California and Illinois at the bottom

California, whose state budget is highly dependent on volatile income taxes, is the least able big state to withstand a recession, according to a “stress test” conducted by Moody’s Investor Service.

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Daily Press: Hesperia approves resolution to unfreeze wages for city employees

hesperia_logo

By Rene Ray De La Cruz
Staff Writer
Follow @@DP_ReneDeLaCruz

Posted Apr. 21, 2016 at 10:55 AM
Updated Apr 21, 2016 at 4:53 PM

HESPERIA — The City Council approved a resolution that paves the way to unfreeze wages for union and nonunion city employees.

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The Sacramento Bee: CalPERS sets higher pension contribution rates

calpers

Pension fund says rate hike smaller than expected

Business & Real Estate
By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
April 20, 2016 – 5:18 PM

CalPERS approved another round of rate increases Thursday, requiring higher contributions from state agencies and school districts for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

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High Speed Rail

A full-scale mock-up of a high-speed train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento last year. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Ralph Vartabedian
April 18, 2016

A key state legislative committee on Monday unanimously approved a Republican-led bill to strengthen oversight of the California bullet train, a sign of growing bipartisan concern about the project.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Millions spent on outside consultants

Riverside-County-Seal

As Riverside County faces budget crunch, some wonder why pricey specialists are needed to cut spending.

Published: April 15, 2016
Updated:   April 17, 2016 – 2:25 a.m.

Riverside County’s budget shortfall next fiscal year could approach $100 million. But it still found $44 million to spend on outside consultants.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Daily Press: Attorney fees could top $1 million in jail expansion suit

SBCO

County Supervisors up legal services contract by $400K

By Shea Johnson
Staff Writer
Follow @@DP_Shea
Posted Apr. 12, 2016 at 4:25 PM

SAN BERNARDINO — Attorney fees could rise above $1 million in the county’s lawsuit against the architectural and design firms of the High Desert Detention Center expansion in Adelanto, which was completed in February 2014 after falling nearly $29 million over budget.

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Pension-Fund

Ed Mendel
April 14, 2016

CalPERS actuaries recommend that the annual state payment for state worker pensions increase $602 million in the new fiscal year to $5.35 billion, nearly doubling the $2.7 billion paid a decade ago before the recession and a huge investment loss.

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CCPOA

The State Worker
By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com
April 11, 2016 – 12:19 PM

  • Tentative deal makes fitness pay pensionable
  • Some leave counts toward overtime threshold
  • State’s annual payments to union’s benefits trust fund will nearly triple to $14 million

The latest tentative labor agreement with California’s correctional officers proves that there’s more than one way to boost employee compensation without calling it a “raise.”

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Calpensions: Brown’s long road to retiree health cost relief

Pensions

Ed Mendel
April 11, 2016

Gov. Brown’s plan to reduce state worker retiree health care costs got only a small nod in a tentative CSU faculty contract agreement last week. But three unions have agreed to begin paying down one of the state’s fastest-growing costs and largest debts.

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California State University

California State University and its faculty union jointly announced Friday a deal that will raise instructor salaries 10.5 percent over the next two years.

Capitol Alert
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com
April 8, 2016 – 10:00 AM

  • Deal includes 7 percent bump this year
  • CSU chancellor says deal provides ‘breathing room’ to figure out how to pay for it
  • Strike scheduled for next week averted

Just days before California State University professors were expected to walk out on the job, Chancellor Timothy White and the California Faculty Association jointly announced Friday a tentative contract agreement far more expansive than the 5 percent raise teaching staff sought for nearly a year.

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The Sun: ‘Major step forward’ for San Bernardino bankruptcy

Exit Ahead

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 04/01/16 – 5:48 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The end to the city’s three-year-old bankruptcy is in sight, but the 20 years after exiting bankruptcy will still be tough, city officials tell their creditors and bankruptcy judge in the latest version of the bankruptcy exit plan.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Officials work to close huge budget gap

Riverside-County-Seal

Shortfall could reach $100 million if cost-cutting measures aren’t adopted

Published: March 30, 2016 – Updated: 11:07 p.m.

Freezing spending, holding the line on across-the-board raises and shifting existing money are key to Riverside County’s plan to stop escalating costs from drying up reserves and causing a $100 million shortfall.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Riverside-County-Seal

County faces a potential $100 million shortfall and is seeking ways to cut costs. “The KPMG report clearly outlines that CEO’s Office has been operating in a vacuum and providing inaccurate and misleading information about County departments to the Board,” the statement said.

Published: March 24, 2016 – Updated: 5:58 p.m.

Changes in how the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department responds to calls and deploys its deputies and corrections officers can save taxpayers money and improve service, according to a much-awaited outside review of the county’s public safety spending.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

High-Speed Rail

A full-scale mock-up of a high-speed train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
March 24, 2016 – 2:28 PM

  • 52 percent of adults and 44 percent of likely voters back rail
  • More would back project if it were cheaper than $64 billion
  • A pair of proposed initiatives would threaten rail funding

There’s been little positive buzz of late about California’s high-speed rail system.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE: Changes, deficit loom at City Hall

city-of-riverside-seal

After a multimillion-dollar surprise, city officials are adjusting their financial forecasting.

Published: March 18, 2016
Updated:   March 20, 2016 – 9:39 a.m.

Amid a shake-up of top finance employees, Riverside officials hope that changing the way they handle budgets and financial projections will help the city emerge from a surprise multimillion-dollar deficit.

To read article by Alicia Robinson in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

High-Speed Rail

A full-scale mock-up of a high-speed bullet train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Ralph Vartabedian
March 18, 2016

The state has enough money to build an initial operating segment of the bullet train from San Jose to the Central Valley but faces major uncertainties about funding for the entire 500-mile system and whether the initial system will be profitable, according to a new report by researchers for the Legislature.

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Debt

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
March 18, 2016 12:07 PM

  • New accounting standards require pensions to be on balance sheet
  • The rules will also require health care obligations to be listed
  • Pension reformers praise inclusion as helping their cause

Although its 2014-15 budget was balanced, California’s state government ended the fiscal year $175.1 billion in the red, thanks largely to state retirement obligations that had to be included in its balance sheet for the first time.

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The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: California pension debts revealed

Pensions

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
March 15, 2016 – 4:15 PM

  • New accounting standards require pension debt to be listed
  • Multibillion-dollar unfunded liabilities are emerging
  • However, Fresno has state’s only pension fund surplus

Thanks to new accounting standards, California’s state and local governments are being forced to acknowledge tens of billions of dollars in previously obscure debt for unfunded pension liabilities.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
March 12, 2016 – 8:00 AM

  • Under court pressure, prison population has dropped sharply
  • State has dropped from 166,000 to 129,000
  • However, prison spending has continued to climb

Americans of a certain age may remember the term “peace dividend.”

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Overtime costs soaring

Riverside-County-Seal

Eight departments spent at least $1 million on OT last fiscal year, a new report finds.

Published: March 11, 2016 – 05:27 p.m.

Eight Riverside County departments spent at least $1 million on overtime during fiscal 2014-15, and five of those departments have seen overtime costs rise 52 percent or more in the past five years, according to a new report from the county auditor-controller.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
March 8, 2016 – 3:08 PM

  • Judge rules that bullet train doesn’t violate bond act
  • However, other legal hurdles still must be cleared
  • Project still faces financial challenges as well

California’s highly controversial bullet train project dodged a bullet Tuesday when a judge declared that opponents had not proved that it would violate provisions of a 2008 bond measure.

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California State University

Members of the California Faculty Association and supporters attend a meeting of Cal State trustees in Long Beach on March 8. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Carla Rivera
March 8, 2016

California State University faculty members appealed to trustees Tuesday to do more to avert a strike at the nation’s largest university system, but the two sides remain at odds over salaries for about 26,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE: Council may ask voters for a raise

city-of-riverside-seal

A proposed ballot measure would bump the council’s annual pay from $41,376 to $66,211.

Published: March 4, 2016 – 1:58 p.m.

Many Riverside City Council members past and present would say that the job demands at least full-time hours.

But whether council members should be paid more than their current annual salary of $41,376 is about to become a matter of public debate.

To read article by Alicia Robinson in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

San Bernardino Seal

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – 09:00 a.m.

It took the San Bernardino City Council long enough to figure out that a special district parcel tax, part of a plan to fund the county taking over the city’s fire department, was nothing more than a tax grab.

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InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County public attorneys get new contract, raises

SBCPAA

Saturday, February 27, 2016 – 04:00 p.m.

The union representing public attorneys employed by San Bernardino County has secured a new collective bargaining agreement through August 2019.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE: City officials struggling with deficit

city-of-riverside-seal

Officials say they’ll seek savings but expect to spend reserves to cover some of $8 million budget gap.

Published: Feb. 25, 2016
Updated:   Feb. 26, 2016 – 6:43 a.m.

After projecting a $1 million surplus last June, Riverside officials now say the city faces an $8 million deficit this fiscal year and potential budget gaps in coming years.

To read story by Alicia Robinson in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

The Sacramento Bee: State spending more money than ever, but how to measure it?

California Taxes

Data Tracker
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
February 19, 2016 – 7:41 PM

  • Total general fund and special funding in proposed plan tops $167 billion
  • Plan reflects about $7.78 in spending for every $100 in personal income
  • More spending has been shifted from general fund to special funds

When it comes to debating whether California government spends too much money or too little, there are multiple reasons agreement is hard to come by.

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The Sacramento Bee: Analyst estimates $100 million more in Prop. 47 savings than Brown

Savings

Capitol Alert
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com
February 12, 2016 – 3:20 PM

  • Report says governor’s budget does not account for cost of contracting prisoners to other states

The Legislature’s non-partisan fiscal analyst believes Gov. Jerry Brown is underestimating the amount of savings from Proposition 47, the controversial ballot initiative that reduced some nonviolent drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Tavaglione tells sheriff to cooperate

Riverside County Sheriff

Supervisor says firm hired to review public safety spending has complained about sheriff’s office.

Published: Feb. 10, 2016 – 3:48 p.m.

Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione this week called out Sheriff Stan Sniff, saying the sheriff’s office has been less than forthcoming with information for an ongoing review of public safety spending.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

The San Francisco Chronicle: California’s $400 billion debt worries analysts

Debt

By Melody Gutierrez
February 6, 2016
Updated: February 6, 2016 – 2:53pm

SACRAMENTO — California has come a long way to dig itself out of budget deficits, but the state remains on shaky ground due to nearly $400 billion in unfunded liabilities and debt from public pensions, retiree health care and bonds, financial analysts say.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
February 6, 2016 3:40 PM

  • Bullet train, tunnels would be governor’s legacies
  • Both projects, however, face critical tests
  • Financing for both still very uncertain

The two immense public works projects that would be Jerry Brown legacies will soon face pivotal moments.

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Calstrs

.

METRO

By Daniel Borenstein
dborenstein@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted: 02/04/2016 06:00:00 PM PST
Updated: 02/04/2016 09:14:06 PM PST

Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed through a 32-year plan to shore up the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

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NYSE Trading Floor

Specialist Michael Gagliano, foreground, works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. The stock market’s problems likely contributed to lower-than-estimated California income tax revenue in January, the LAO reports. (Richard Drew AP)

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
February 3, 2016 3:53 PM

  • Preliminary income tax revenue for January $260 million less than proposed budget estimate
  • Corporation tax for month $93 million above estimates
  • LAO cautions that “continued stock market weakness” could mean lower revenue through June

It’s been a heady ride for California finances in recent years, with budget revenue outpacing estimates by billions of dollars, buoyed along by the state’s healthy economic growth in 2015.

Could that trend be coming to an end?

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Riverside-County-Seal

Supervisor Marion Ashley presents 16-point plan to address financial challenges, which the board agrees to have staff look more into.

Published: Feb. 2, 2016
Updated:   Feb. 3, 2016 – 8:04 a.m.

Employee furloughs, Friday office closures and a hiring freeze are among the ideas suggested by a Riverside County supervisor Tuesday, Feb. 2 to deal with the county’s ongoing financial challenges.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

San Bernardino Police

Police Officer Edward Lee, a member of the San Bernardino Police Department, at a wall that a robber reportedly climbed. (Credit Jenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times)

By Michael Wines
Feb. 2, 2016

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Detective Ryan Wicks trained the headlights of his Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor on a young man spotted fleeing local gang members and climbed out of his car, a battered black-and-white cruiser of mid-2000s vintage. The odometer stood north of 95,000 miles. A rear fender was scarred by the belt buckles of hundreds of suspects who had been spread-eagled against it.

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The Sun: San Bernardino, fire union resolve $40 million in claims

San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 02/01/16 – 9:26 PM PST |

SAN BERNARDINO >> An agreement between the city and its firefighter union that ends more than $40 million worth of disputes is now final, with approval from both sides.

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InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County pension fund suffers another quarterly loss

SBCO

Monday, February 1, 2016 – 08:30 a.m.

It’s nice that San Bernardino County coffers are flush with money.

Because it looks like it’ll be needed for the pension fund, the San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association (SBCERA).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: San Bernardino gets $148 parcel tax, fire outsourcing

San Bernardino Seal

Local Agency Formation Commission voted unanimously to move forward Wednesday with the city of San Bernardino’s proposal to annex the 137-year old San Bernardino Fire Department into Fire Protection District Service Zone FP5-5, giving responsibility for fire and emergency medical response to the county fire department.

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 01/27/16 – 11:09 AM PST |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A plan to outsource the city Fire Department and add a parcel tax of $148 per year took a big step forward Wednesday with the unanimous approval of the agency in charge of overseeing that process.

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Accounting

The State Worker
By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com
January 27, 2016 11:12 AM

  • The state’s unfunded liability grew, but more slowly than expected

California faces a $74.1 billion obligation to cover state retirees’ medical expenses over the next three decades, according to a new report released by state Controller Betty Yee.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: San Bernardino, fire union reach tentative ‘global settlement’

San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 01/25/16 – 9:10 PM PST |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The city and one of its most consistent legal adversaries, the fire union, have a tentative agreement that ends all of their legal disputes, after the City Council approved it during a closed session meeting Monday, according to City Attorney Gary Saenz.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 24, 2016 – 9:02 AM

  • Jerry Brown wants to sock away extra billions
  • Democratic legislators want to spend extra billions
  • Governor warns that reserves needed to cushion recession

The single most important factor in writing a new state budget is determining how much money there is to spend.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Press-Enterprise: SAN BERNARDINO: Bankruptcy plan hurts those injured by city

San Bernardino Seal

Those who have filed claims against the city would receive 1 percent of what they’re owed under the insolvency proposal

Published: Jan. 22, 2016
Updated:   Jan. 23, 2016 – 9:06 p.m.

The city of San Bernardino hopes that a provision of its bankruptcy-exit plan will erase more than $49 million from the books by allowing it to pay only 1 percent – $500,000 – to its unsecured creditors.

To read story by Brian Rokos in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Pothole

California transportation officials plan to cut funding for road and transit projects by $754 million over the next five years.

Patrick McGreevy
January 22, 2016

Faced with plummeting gasoline tax revenue, state transportation officials have announced plans to cut funding for road and transit projects by $754 million over the next five years, the greatest reduction in two decades.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown

State of the State address

John Myers
January 21, 2016

In a short speech with a long view of California, Gov. Jerry Brown used his State of the State address to challenge lawmakers to better balance the cyclical nature of success and setback that has dominated state government for the better part of two decades.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 21, 2016 6:08 PM

  • Jerry Brown’s State of the State address explores no new ground
  • He appears content to check off items on political bucket list for California
  • But does he see a political role as governorship winds down?

No Latin phrases. No paeans to pioneer ancestors. No quotes from obscure philosophers. A brief reference to climate change. Just a couple of mild quips.

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InlandPolitics: More San Bernardino County investigations under the surface

SBCO

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 – 09:00 a.m.

There’s more under the microscope in San Bernardino County than meets the eye.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 19, 2016 3:42 PM

  • Unfunded retirement costs at least $200 billion
  • Latest pension reform effort collapses
  • Benefit debt is destined to grow even larger

With no thought to long-term financial consequences, California politicians, both state and local, have saddled taxpayers with hundreds of billions of dollars in debt for pensions and retiree health care.

Read the rest of this entry »

Contra Costa Times: California retirement liabilities remain despite surplus

Pension Reform

Associated Press
Posted: 01/18/2016 – 10:51:49 PM PST
Updated: 01/18/2016 – 10:52:19 PM PST

SACRAMENTO — The California budget that Gov. Jerry Brown proposed this month marks a shocking financial turnaround for a state that just a few years ago faced a $26 billion deficit.

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The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: California has big money, hot politics in poverty

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 17, 2016 – 9:06 AM

  • Millions of people in state are mired in poverty
  • Caring for their needs costs $200 billion a year
  • But politicians wrangle over whether it’s enough

Gov. Jerry Brown was still explaining his new budget to reporters on Jan. 7 when advocates for the poor, who didn’t like what he was saying, began firing email blasts.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Press-Enterprise: REGION: Cities still pursuing own police force

Riverside County Sheriff

Twelve Riverside County cities seeking to save money on law enforcement costs.

Published: Jan. 15, 2016 – Updated: 10:45 p.m.

Twelve Riverside County cities looking to save money on law enforcement costs could decide next month whether to pursue a feasibility study on forming their own police force.

To read article by Imran Ghori in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County’s legal costs soared 24% in 2015

Los Angeles County - Men's Central Jail

The front of the L.A. County Men’s Central Jail is shown. Lawsuits involving the Sheriff’s Department, which runs the county jails, contributed to a dramatic increase in the county’s legal costs in 2015. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Abby Sewell
January 15, 2016

Los Angeles County’s spending on lawsuit-related attorney fees, settlements and judgments rose 24% last year — an increase driven largely by litigation against the Sheriff’s Department.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Analyst calls Jerry Brown’s budget ‘prudent’

Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown carries notebook paper outlining his proposed 2016-17 state budget after a news conference at the California State Capitol Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. (Renee C. Byer rbyer@sacbee.com)

Capitol Alert
By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
January 11, 2016 11:38 AM

  • Legislative Analyst’s Office warns of possible economic downturn
  • Brown’s estimates for local property tax revenue about $1 billion too low

The Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst on Monday called Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal a “prudent” spending plan, while arguing he may underestimate the amount of available revenue.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Tax issue nags Jerry Brown

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 10, 2016 3:30 PM

  • Brown wrestled with complex issue four decades ago
  • State has changed corporate taxation formulas several times since
  • It’s still unsettled in Brown’s second governorship

State taxation of multistate and multinational corporations is not an issue for the fainthearted.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown leaves a news conference where he unveiled his proposed 2016-17 state budget. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

John Myers
January 8, 2016

It was during a boisterous and brusque budget presentation when Gov. Jerry Brown offered a candid assessment of why he’s unwilling to grant too many legislative spending requests.

Read the rest of this entry »

California

Capitol Alert
By David Siders, Jim Miller and Jeremy B. White
dsiders@sacbee.com
January 7, 2016 9:45 AM

  • Democratic governor warns of possible downturn
  • Brown will build reserves more than required
  • School funding increases also planned

Gov. Jerry Brown, issuing a $170.6 billion state spending plan Thursday, proposed billions of dollars in new funding for schools, climate change programs and services for the elderly and disabled.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 7, 2016 12:08 PM

  • Brown proposes $170.7 billion budget
  • Governor warns of new recession
  • Tells legislators to curb spending plans

Gov. Jerry Brown, warning that “the next recession is getting closer,” doubled down Thursday on holding down state spending and building reserves.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses the 2012-13 budget in 2012. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

John Myers and Melanie Mason
January 7, 2015

In an effort to break a political and policy logjam, Gov. Jerry Brown will unveil a state budget that revamps a controversial tax on health plans to avoid jeopardizing federal healthcare dollars.

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The Sacramento Bee: Five things to watch for in Jerry Brown’s budget proposal

Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown, waits to answers questions during a news conference where he announced a budget agreement last June. Brown will release his latest budget proposal Thursday. (Renee C. Byer rbyer@sacbee.com)

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller and David Siders
jmiller@sacbee.com
January 5, 2016 5:34 PM

  • Democratic governor will release spending plan Thursday
  • Revenue running above last year’s estimates
  • Brown and fellow Democrats in Legislature have butted heads on spending proposals

Gov. Jerry Brown will release his budget proposal for the coming year Thursday, amid a strong state economy and fiscal experts’ predictions that tax revenue will continue to surpass estimates from last June.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: California’s budget windfall could be flashpoint

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
January 4, 2016 2:37 PM

  • State getting billions of extra dollars
  • Democrats want to spend financial windfall
  • Gov. Jerry Brown remains reluctant

Halfway through the 2015-16 fiscal year, state finances are continuing to improve with billions of extra revenue dollars.

Ordinarily, that would be good news.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Capitol

Juliet Williams, Associated Press
Sunday, January 3, 2016 – Updated: 10:57 am

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers return to the Capitol Monday facing two of the most vexing problems from last year: a looming $1 billion hole in funding for the state’s health care program for the poor and a $59 billion backlog in road repairs needed over the next decade.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Hill: Fury of the right falls on Ryan

The Hill

By Scott Wong
12/26/15 – 12:02 PM EST

Outside the Beltway, the right is livid with new Speaker Paul Ryan’s trillion-dollar spending deal with Democrats.

Read the rest of this entry »

Orange County Seal

By Jessica Kwong / Staff Writer
Dec. 24, 2015 – Updated 9:25 a.m.

SANTA ANA – Employees with Orange County’s largest union are heading into the holidays assured of their biggest salary raise since the recession, under a three-year contract the Board of Supervisors approved Wednesday morning.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Press-Enterprise: MURRIETA: City taking $4.8 million hit to budget

Murrieta

State has ordered city to pay county to settle dispute about loans made to the city’s former redevelopment agency.

Published: Dec. 20, 2015
Updated:   Dec. 21, 2015 – 6:53 a.m.

The state’s Department of Finance is forcing Murrieta to pay $4.8 million to Riverside County to settle a dispute about loans the city made to its former redevelopment agency in the mid-2000s.

To read article by Aaron Claverie in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

Los Angeles Times: What California stands to gain from Congress’ budget deal

California Money

By Christine Mai-Duc
December 18, 2015

The sweeping budget deal — a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill — tackles a number of policy areas, including making some $650 billion in tax breaks permanent, adopting new cybersecurity rules and repealing a decades-old ban on crude oil exports.

Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) on Capitol Hill. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Lisa Mascaro
December 17, 2015

By approving a massive package of tax breaks Thursday, House Republicans — who have made deficit-slashing the holy grail of their majority — just piled on nearly $650 billion in red ink.

Read the rest of this entry »

Politico: 2,200 pages, $1.8 trillion, dead of night

U.S. Capitol

Congress released more than 2,200 pages of legislation in the dead of night. | AP

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Politico

What’s really in the year-end tax and spending bill?

By Bernie Becker
12/16/15 – 04:24 PM EST

Congress released more than 2,200 pages of legislation in the dead of night — containing $1.1 trillion in spending, about $680 billion in tax cuts and a string of other policy changes.

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Roll Call: Winners and Losers in the Omnibus and Tax Bills

Roll Call Logo

By Roll Call Staff
Posted on Dec. 16 at 10:52 a.m.

Both Democrats and Republicans won a few and lost a few in the $1.1 trillion spending bill and package of tax extensions that congressional negotiators agreed on late Tuesday.

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Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan announces the bipartisan budget agreement on Wednesday. (Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency)

Michael Hiltzik
December 16, 2015

When Congress legislates at night and in haste, you can be sure mischief is being done. Sure enough, the budget deal announced late Tuesday by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), takes an ax to efforts to limit the torrent of big money into politics.

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Secretary of State

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
December 15, 2015

  • Controller’s searchable website covers $36 billion in wages
  • City wage, benefit costs decline while county costs increase

State Controller Betty Yee has released a new searchable database of local government salaries, covering 602,377 positions with more than $36 billion in wages.

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Politico: Tax deal swelling into $800 billion blowout

Politico

By Brian Faler
12/02/15 – 05:37 PM EST

  • Budget hawks cry foul as Democratic and GOP wish lists find their way into a developing year-end bargain on tax breaks.

Congress is eyeing a year-end budget-busting tax cut blowout.

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The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Our cities have become vulnerable

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 29, 2015

  • Bankruptcies and scandals showed danger
  • Pension burdens one major factor
  • Auditor to monitor local governments

The bankruptcies of three cities and high-profile financial scandals in a couple of others demonstrated the operational vulnerabilities of California’s municipalities.

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InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County Pension shortfall approaches $2 billion

SBCO

Saturday, November 28, 2015 – 11:00 a.m.

Even though San Bernardino County, California has been ponying up tens of millions of dollars more in annual pension contributions each of the past several years, the funding situation hasn’t significantly changed.

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The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Troubles continue for courts

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 26, 2015

  • Financial, managerial problems plague system
  • Rebel judges battle with judicial leaders
  • Ability of courts to function threatened

There’s nothing more fundamental to a well-functioning society than an efficient, fair court system to resolve civil disputes and criminal cases.

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The Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: State still owes one huge debt

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 25, 2015

  • California borrowed $10 billion for unemployment insurance
  • Taxes on employers raised to repay big debt
  • However, insurance fund still insolvent

When Jerry Brown returned to the governorship in 2011, he pledged to clean up the state’s finances and pay off a “wall of debt.”

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The Hill: Obstacles imperil budget deal

The Hill

By Alexander Bolton – 11/25/15 06:01 AM EST

Congressional leaders face several hurdles to getting a budget deal done by the Dec. 11 deadline, including a fight over health funding that is holding up the omnibus spending package.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Jail project ties up county cash

Riverside-County-Seal

Building funds are being eaten up by Indio detention center.

Published: Nov. 23, 2015 – Updated: 8:59 p.m.

If you compared Riverside County’s ability to build new public facilities to a credit card, it would be almost maxed out.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

InlandPolitics: Opinion: Jerry Brown right on CalPERS funding problem

Jerry Brown

Brown

Monday, November 23, 2015 – 09:00 a.m.

Not that I agree with California Governor Jerry Brown on much.

But he’s correct regarding the fix to the under-funding problem affecting the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 22, 2015

  • California continues to see strong revenue gains
  • Jerry Brown wants to build rainy-day reserves
  • Other Democrats have spending plans in mind

As the Great Recession gripped California, state revenues plummeted by 20 percent and Capitol politicians and major stakeholders battled over which programs would take the hits.

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Pay Raise

Abby Sewell
November 20, 2015

Workers represented by Los Angeles County’s largest employee union voted to approve a tentative agreement with county management that would give them a 10% raise over three years.

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Los Angeles Times: CalPERS pay-down plan isn’t fast enough for Gov. Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s disappointment over the CalPERS plans hints at a larger tug of war between him and the state employee unions. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

John Myers
November 19, 2015

  • Jerry Brown disagrees with the new CalPERS pay-down plan

If there is one thing that Gov. Jerry Brown has made a calling card since returning to office in 2011, it’s a push toward paying down government debt.

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calpers

For years, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System has estimated its investments will earn an average of 7.5% or more a year. Now it plans to slowly reduce that rate to 6.5%.

Melody Petersen
November 18, 2015

The board of California’s largest public pension fund approved a plan Wednesday to lower its estimate of future investment returns — a move that will require taxpayers to pay billions of dollars more than expected over the next decades.

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LAO

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
November 18, 2015

  • Legislature’s fiscal analyst assumes continuing economic growth
  • Projected revenue through June 2016 about $3.5 billion more than budget projection
  • Gov. Jerry Brown will present proposed 2016-17 spending plan in January

California’s economic engine will continue to hum in the coming years, allowing the state to ring up a series of multibillion-dollar budget surpluses and build rainy-day reserves, the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst projected Wednesday.

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The Press-Enterprise: RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Current spending unsustainable, report warns

Riverside-County-Seal

Officials say the county’s $239M in savings could be exhausted if changes aren’t made

Published: Nov. 17, 2015 – Updated: 11:47 p.m.

If nothing is done, Riverside County’s $239 million in savings could be wiped out in a few years, according to a new county budget report.

To read article by Jeff Horseman in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

CalPERS

Melody Petersen
Novembe 17, 2015

Experts have warned for years that the state’s largest public pension plan has overestimated how much its investments will earn, leaving taxpayers to pay billions of dollars more than expected.

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