For Whom the California Budget Tolls

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

Journalists and elected officials occasionally make the mistake of viewing budget problems in terms of size rather than where the budget item falls. For example, the costs of unfunded pensions and retiree healthcare in the current fiscal year (FYE16–17) add up to 6% of the state’s General Fund, a much smaller share than retirement spending […]

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Fix Medi-Cal Or Lose UC and CSU

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

As a new Congress takes office, newspapers are filled with articles about the potential consequences for California of federal changes to Medicaid but not about how California’s existing version of Medicaid — known as “Medi-Cal” — is already in need of serious reform. Medi-Cal is a single-payer healthcare entitlement program covering 13.5 million low-income Californians. Funded jointly by the state and the […]

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Next Generation Is On CalPERS’s Menu

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

“If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” — Dave Low, Executive Director, California School Employees Association “Pay now or pay more later.” — CalPERS board member Richard Gillihan, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown The CalPERS board is considering a recommendation to lower its investment return assumption to 6.1%. That would mean higher pension costs […]

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Public Pension Costs: Potential Good News for Californians

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

The California Supreme Court has decided to hear the MCERA case, which as explained here potentially is good news for citizens. Now citizens should turn their attention to CalPERS’s board, which in February will decide on its consultant’s recommendation to use a 6.1% investment return assumption when establishing pension contributions. That decision will have a big impact on citizens […]

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Time For CalPERS To Lead

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

According to a recent article, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is considering a meaningful reduction in the investment return it assumes when establishing pension contributions. Future generations should hope CalPERS’s board makes the change. Public employee pension costs are supposed to be shared by employees and citizens. Together they contribute money when pension […]

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California’s Governors Should Send Their Kids To Public Schools

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

Citizens feel confident President Obama would never move himself and his family to another country for their safety. National security is the #1 presidential responsibility. Citizens expect presidents to experience the consequences of their leadership in that regard. In California, K-12 education is the #1 gubernatorial responsibility. It’s the first and largest category in the Governor’s […]

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The Ultimate Recipients of California’s State Spending

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

California’s General Fund will spend $122 billion this fiscal year. The state budget illustrates that spending in the following manner:             But that chart doesn’t show WHO pockets that money. Looked at that way:

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Big Changes in California’s Spending

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

A review of California’s 2016–17 state budget yields a new pattern as spending surges on retirement and Medicaid (Medi-Cal) costs. Budget shares have changed dramatically since 2010–11: Much has been written about the spending surge on pensions and OPEB (retiree healthcare) but little has been written about the surge in spending on Medi-Cal, a voucher-style […]

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Pensions: How To Earn 7.8% for 20 Years But Be Short $100 Billion

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

Board members at CalPERS and other public pension funds often mislead citizens about the reasons for rising pension costs and worsening Funded Ratios (the ratio of pension liabilities to pension assets) but the principal reason is surging liabilities. In 1995 CalPERS reported a Funded Ratio of 96%. Over the next 20 years it earned a […]

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The Consequences of Weak Pension Earnings

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

Several reporters have asked about the consequences of CalPERS’s weak investment earnings. Although CalPERS has not issued an actuarial report since June 30, 2014, one can draw an inference that its Unfunded Liability has grown about $50 billion since then, to $140 billion. Here is how you get there: Start from this chart on page […]

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