Democratic Legislators Must be Fiscally Responsible

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Governor Jerry Brown put just about everything he could in the May Revise, except for the “kitchen sink,” to try to convince the Democrat-controlled Legislature to “hold the line” on new deficit spending. The Governor cited economic risks as the most important reason to spend less and build up the state’s reserves.  The state is […]

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Pension Reformer Chuck Reed Gearing Up California Pension Reform Measure

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Chuck Reed, former San Jose Mayor turned national pension reform advocate, is gearing up a new California pension reform measure for a big fight on the 2018 statewide ballot, according to a new exclusive interview. “We are spending so much more on retirement benefits.  That’s essentially the Department of the Past that is getting all […]

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CA Poised to Legalize Marijuana While Putting More Prohibitions on Cigarettes

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Governor Jerry Brown just signed a package of tobacco regulatory bills sent to him by the California Legislature which is being billed as a “major victory for public health.” Among the bills signed yesterday, was an increase in the age at which one can consume tobacco products from 18 to 21 and banning the use […]

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Government Solutions Not Right for Housing Crisis

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

California is in the midst of a severe and growing housing crisis, and the Legislative leadership in Sacramento appears to not have the faintest understanding about the causes and possible real solutions to the problem.  Housing costs are skyrocketing, and the housing market is failing to build additional housing at a rate that comes anywhere […]

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Sacramento Needs to “Keep Its Hands Off Gig Economy”

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Sacramento politicians cannot resist the urge to “regulate” the “gig economy” to impose arduous work rules, regulations, and a whole host of bureaucratic red tape on one of the most successful economic enterprises to surface in the past few years. People here in the Bay Area love Lyft and Uber, not the heavily regulated taxi […]

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Gov. Brown Caved Too Easily to Labor on Minimum Wage Increase, Should Have Forced Labor to Go to Voters



David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Initially, it looked like Governor Jerry Brown (D) was going to drive a much harder bargain with the public sector labor unions, but in the end he gave in too easily by granting concessions that would primarily benefit his legacy but not the State of California, California businesses and California taxpayers. I know the polling […]

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Preliminary Report Pegs Pension and Retiree Health Care Problem at $1.2 Trillion

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIFER) estimated that California’s pension and retiree health care unfunded liabilities exceeded $1.2 trillion in 2013–significantly higher than all previous reports, according to preliminary figures obtained from SIFEF by Insolvent Film. The Stanford study the estimated total unfunded liabilities for pension and retiree health care (aka “other post employment benefits” […]

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California Counties Experience Huge Drop in Net Value Due to Unfunded Pension Liabilities, Several Counties Deemed “Balance Sheet Insolvent”

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Many of the new financial reports are out for cities, counties and special districts in California and as expected they show a significant drop in the “net position” (aka “net value) of major California counties due to the inclusion of large unfunded pension liabilities. Several years ago the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) discovered a […]

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‘Hidden’ Public Employee Benefit Costs in California State and Local Governments

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Most public agencies in California, including the State of California, are financially insolvent because their liabilities exceed their assets. This essentially means that they have a negative ‘net worth,’ or ‘net value’ (aka ‘net position’) in terms of public finance. What is far less understood is the roots cause(s) of this trend. From a financial […]

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