COVID 19 Will End—This Problem Will Not

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

In addition to its regular pension spending, the State of California is providing an extra $12 billion over a four-year period to boost the assets of the state’s two pension funds in an effort to reduce future pension spending. But the impact will be negligible. That’s because pension liabilities will grow >10x as much over […]

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Irony—Voter Approved Debt vs. Non-Voter Approved Obligations

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

One week from today, Californians will finish voting on a $15 billion General Obligation Bond to be issued by the state if approved by voters. Currently, the state has $73 billion of voter-approved General Obligation Bond obligations outstanding that cost the General Fund $5 billion a year. Meanwhile, also outstanding are $250 billion of non-voter-approved obligations that […]

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Disinformation in Political Debate

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

Further to our recent note about disinformation in California politics, another illustration was provided earlier this week by an article about a debate among participants in a Bay Area race for State Senate. One candidate said that one of her top priorities is “moving California from the bottom 10 states in per-pupil spending for K-12 […]

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Disinformation in Sacramento

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

The Washington Post’s masthead reads “Democracy Dies in Darkness” but sometimes democracy dies in plain sight in Sacramento, where unverified assertions are often employed to justify billions in spending, cover up accounting frauds, shift blame for undue political influence, and more. For example, whenever a new contract for state prison employees is under consideration, legislators […]

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Governor’s Proposed Budget is Here

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

Last Friday, Governor Newsom released a budget proposal for the next fiscal year for the legislature’s consideration. Our comments on the principal spending items of interest to the Govern For California Network are below: Reserves. We are pleased the governor proposes to use much of a projected budget surplus* to build additional reserves. Because California’s […]

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The Governor’s Budget is Coming

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

The California Constitution requires the governor to submit a proposed budget (the “Governor’s Budget”) for the next fiscal year to the state legislature by January 10. The Governor’s Budget sets the table for discussions with the legislature, which must pass a budget by June 15, and is must-reading for anyone who wants to dive deep into California’s governance, […]

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Politics and Economics Don’t Always Mix

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

University of California at Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez knows something about economics but apparently not about politics. In a recent debate with former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, Saez (who is also an advisor to presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and proponent of a wealth tax) claimed there’s a correlation between wealth and political power. As […]

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California’s Berlin Wall

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

To understand California’s publicly-funded school system, it helps to understand federally-funded health insurance. Both Medicare and the Veterans Administration are government-funded insurers but the VA is also a government-operated health care provider. While Medicare enrollees may freely choose among health care providers, VA enrollees may choose a non-VA provider only in limited cases.  California has […]

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The Cost of Education

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

Everyone knows housing costs are a problem for middle-class Californians but also troublesome are education costs. Recently the New York Times profiled a San Francisco couple earning $150,000 per year who just had a baby. If San Francisco’s public schools aren’t acceptable to them when their baby is ready to start school, the couple — […]

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POPs, GEOPs and MacGuffins

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

Alfred Hitchcock often employed a technique in his films known as a “MacGuffin,” which is an object, device or event that draws attention from the real plot but is largely insignificant itself. MacGuffins are also employed in California politics, as the example below demonstrates. California houses less than 2 percent of its ~128,000 state prison […]

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