Now That Drug Cost Increases Must Be Explained in California . . .

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill requiring pharmaceutical companies in California to issue notifications at least 60 days in advance of a price increase that would be at least 16 percent over a two-year period and explain the reasons behind the increase. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, supporters of the legislation say it […]

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A Tale Of Two Headlines

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Rolling Stone just ran a hagiographic interview with California governor Jerry Brown accompanied by this headline: Jerry Brown’s California Dream: is this the blueprint for a more progressive America? But the very same week CALMatters ran a column with a very different headline: Latest academic tests underscore California’s education crisis. How could Rolling Stone conduct a lengthy interview […]

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CA Should Raise Teacher Pay By Reducing Unfunded Retirement Liabilities

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Fast-rising spending on pensions and other retirement costs is crushing teacher staffing and pay in California. As an example, retirement spending at San Francisco Unified School District grew 3x faster than district revenues over the last five years, absorbing $35 million that could have gone to current teachers. Worse, that happened despite record stock market gains and school revenues. Absent reform, […]

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Pension and Other Retirement Costs Are Crowding Out SF School Teachers

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

School starts today in San Francisco but according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle not all classrooms may have teachers because of “a rash of departures over the summer.” Perhaps the departed teachers observed this depressing mismatch in spending priorities over the past five years: Sources: First Interim Reports, San Francisco Unified School District, FY2012 […]

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Meet The New Boss. Same As The Old Boss.

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Until 1910, the dominant political force in California was the Southern Pacific Railroad. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, SP “manipulated much of California’s political life, buying city supervisors, mayors, judges, the state legislature and even members of the California delegation to the U.S. Congress.” Eventually California enacted a railroad commission and other reforms to […]

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CA Continues To Abandon UC and CSU

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

The State of California’s 2017–18 Enacted Budget confirms an ominous trend as state spending on retirement costs continues displacing state spending on the University of California and California State University. Seven years ago the state provided $5.5 billion for UC and CSU and $6 billion for retirement costs. The new budget provides $7 billion for UC and […]

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A Teachable Pension Math Moment

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System reported excellent earnings for its 2016–17 fiscal year, earning 11.2 percent. Yet CalPERS’s Funded Ratio (the ratio of assets set aside to meet pension liabilities owed by governments) improved only three percentage points, from 65 percent to 68 percent. In other words, an extraordinary investment return 60 percent greater than the […]

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The Great California Classroom Robbery

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Despite historic revenue gains, California’s public schools are in financial trouble. While California’s public schools often suffer financial distress during recessions, their current plight is alarmingly taking place during an economic recovery and after a large tax increase. The principal cause is exploding spending on pension and retiree health care obligations. State funding for schools […]

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Jerry Brown’s Big Skim

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Governor Jerry Brown and the California Legislature have approved a scheme under which a special state fund filled with citizen-paid fees will lend money to the state General Fund, which in turn will contribute the proceeds to a state pension fund that in turn will invest in stocks in the hope of generating profits to […]

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One Last Plea to Stop the Pension Loan

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Dear Legislators: In my essay the other day I provided an alternative to Governor Brown’s pension loan — actually pay down pension debt. You could do that by offering to redeem future pension payments for cash today. Provided the amount you pay is no greater than the present value of those future pension payments using the discount rate CalPERS […]

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