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Why it Makes Sense to Plan the Budget Around Potential Downturns

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

“The state Senate’s Budget chairman, Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), said it doesn’t make sense to plan the state’s budget around potential financial catastrophe. California could absorb mild downturns, he said, with such steps as reducing debt repayments,” the LA Times reported this week. As the state budget deadline approaches, Senator Leno’s statement is short-sighted and clearly runs counter […]

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California: A Textbook Example of the Perils of Short-Sighted Policy

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

The opening words of Governor Jerry Brown’s recent California state budget should ring true. “Since the January Budget, the state’s economy has strengthened and revenues have surged upward, driven by increased capital gains and other income from high‑wage earners,” it begins. “Despite these stronger revenues, the budget remains precariously balanced and faces the prospect of […]

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Medicaid Report Finds Federal Funds Systematically Misallocated to States, Especially CA

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

Medicaid debates over expansion and program cuts are raging throughout the states as higher healthcare costs and enrollment figures strain state budgets. California Common Sense’s new report examines whether the federal government’s current formula for determining federal funding levels per state accurately represents a state’s potential revenue and current poverty levels. The “Federal Medical Assistance […]

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Team Educate’s Disadvantage in the California Budget Battle

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

Last week on this blog, Joe Matthews compared the California’s annual battle for state budget dollars to a game between two teams: Team Educate and Team Medicate. He was correct in saying, “…you have to like the long-term prospects of Team Medicate.” Despite repeated cuts to social services, rising Medicaid costs and the Affordable Care […]

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Don’t Forget About That Recession That Just Happened

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

To hear some people tell it, California is out of the metaphorical woods. Just a few years ago, worries were at the forefront for citizens and policymakers alike. State revenues were bottoming out, services were facing repeated cuts, unemployment was still rising into double-digit territory, and we were asking which city would go bankrupt next. […]

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Any Way You Slice It, California’s Budget Remains Unstable

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

Last week, in his State of the State address, Governor Jerry Brown acknowledged that California’s state government faces a number of outstanding commitments. He said, “Already, the commitments that the state made in the past two years are straining the state’s finances. Under a projection of current policies, the state would begin to spend more […]

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Socio-Economic Disparities in California Schools

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

Among other points, the latest analysis from California Common Sense — Concentrated Disadvantage in California Schools: The New Status Quo by Kimberly Ang — found that 72% of California students now attend schools in which the majority of students are socio-economically disadvantaged. That may surprise some of you. Among our team, it seems to run counter to […]

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California Welfare Overpayments Enough To Fund 13,000 Cases Annually

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

California Common Sense released a brief report called “California Welfare Overpayments: Fraud, Internal Errors, and Limited Investigation.” The report finds $848 million in outstanding CalWORKs overpayments to beneficiaries, half of all identified overpayments recovered, and administrative error costs on the rise. The California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) provides temporary cash assistance, welfare-to-work, and […]

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BART Compensation Levels Remain Higher Than Rest of Transit Sector

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

California Common Sense (CACS) released a brief report (and accompanying data) analyzing the impact of rising personnel costs on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system’s budget since 1999-00. The report found that though BART’s compensation levels have declined as a portion of its operating budget since 2000, they have remained above those of most […]

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Despite Higher Revenues, Debt and Rising Health Costs Threaten California Services

Autumn Carter
Executive Director, California Common Sense

California Common Sense (CACS) released a brief analyzing how the State’s final budget has changed since 2007-08, the last time the budget was balanced. The state projects that its 2013-14 revenues will be $137 billion, $8.9 billion (7.0%) greater than the revenue it expected in 2007-08. Sill, funding for most services is expected to be lower due […]

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