Court Ruling Offers School Boards New Options

A recent court ruling has made it easier for school boards controlled by education reformers to get the legal counsel they deserve. The case was a July 25 ruling in the case Orange County Board of Education vs Al Mijares, and it sets a valuable precedent. In most of California’s local agencies, cities and counties in […]

Analyzing Government Financial Health by Using Financial Statements

There are several types of financial disclosure that will offer valuable financial information about government agencies. They include: Budgets (sometimes including Capital Plans) Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports Pension system and OPEB plan reports Interim updates Open checkbooks Employee payroll data Two of the most useful documents are budgets and “CAFRs” (comprehensive annual financial reports). Here […]

California’s Government Unions Take Steps to Obliterate Janus Impact

Within days the U.S. Supreme Court is going to issue its ruling on the case Janus vs AFSCME. This case, if the ruling goes as expected, is going to overturn current law that requires public employees to pay union dues. Here in California, however, the real story is how laughable is the notion that this ruling […]

We can save California if leaders act boldly, urgently

In 2012, the City of Stockton went bankrupt. The man who had the sad duty of filing Stockton’s bankruptcy, City Manager Bob Deis, was certain about the roots of the disaster: the decision by city officials in 1996 to provide full healthcare benefits to its retired firefighters. According to Reuters: “At the time, the move […]

Resources for California’s Pension Reformers

Stampede: a mass movement of people at a common impulse. –  Merriam Webster dictionary The pension reform stampede is about to finally overrun California’s political status-quo for three reasons. (1) Pension debt is out of control. While official estimates are slightly lower, most reasonable estimates put California’s total unfunded liabilities for state and local pensions at […]

Innovative Incarceration Could Result in Lower Costs and Safer Citizens

The average annual cost to house a prisoner in California is $71,000, and according to the California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, the cost has risen 45% since just 2011. And as costs have soared, California’s policymakers have resorted to creative ways to release inmates from California’s overcrowded prisons. But what if that Californian creativity could be […]

How to Assess Impact of Market Correction on Pension Payments

On January 28, 2018, the Dow Jones stock index closed at a record high of 28,610. Nine days later, on February 6, the Dow index hit an intraday low of 24,198, a drop of over 15 percent. Since then the Dow index has recovered somewhat, along with other stock indexes and the underlying stocks around […]

What the Census Report on Poverty Means for California’s Local Elected Officials

The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent statistics on poverty find that California has the highest rate of poverty in the nation. That study tracks with a new Truth in Accounting report that ranks California near the bottom – 43rd in the nation – for its finances. California earned a grade of F becasue of its […]

Explaining the Pension Crisis – Additional Graphics

The following set of five financial graphics are offered as additional templates (ref. previous post “Graphics to Explain the Pension Crisis to Colleagues and Constituents“) that can be prepared and used by any local elected official, journalist, or citizen activist who wants to explain to others how pension obligations affect the financial health of their […]