The Underrecognized, Undervalued, Underpaid, Unfunded Pension Liabilities

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

“It’s the economy, stupid.” –  Campaign slogan, Clinton campaign, 1992 To paraphrase America’s 42nd president, when it comes to public sector pensions – their financial health and the policies that govern them – it’s the unfunded liability, stupid. The misunderstood, obfuscated, unaccountable, underrecognized, undervalued, underpaid, unfunded pension liabilities. According to CalPERS own data, California’s cities that […]

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A Post-Janus Agenda for California’s Public Sector Unions

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

“If you do not prevail in this case, the unions will have less political influence; yes or no?” Kennedy asked. “Yes, they will have less political influence,” Frederick answered. –  an excerpt from the Janus vs. AFSCME trial, quoted in the Washington Post, February 26, 2018 Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the […]

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A Modest Proposal for California from a Public Servant

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

“When I see someone attacking the benefits the Fire Department receives or the Police Department receives, my concern is: Why wouldn’t you expect the same for yourself? We should act as a beacon.” —Mike Mohun, president of the San Ramon Firefighters Union, quoted in the New York Times, March 2, 2017 There are many compelling reasons […]

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Environmentalism Provides Moral Cover for New Taxes to Fund Pensions

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

There are two intertwined themes that define unionized government in California. First, funding government retiree pensions will soak up every new source of tax revenue they will ever collect. Second, cloaking new taxes and fees – and new agencies – in the virtuous raiment of environmentalism will deflect criticism and demonize critics. Here’s why: Now […]

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California’s Total Government Debt Rises to $1.3 Trillion

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

A just released study calculates the total state and local government debt in California as of June 30, 2015, at over $1.3 trillion. Authored by Marc Joffe and Bill Fletcher at the California Policy Center, this updates a similar exercise from three years ago that put the June 30, 2012 total at $1.1 trillion. As a percent of GDP, […]

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Association of Pension Funds Blacklists Reform Organizations

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

In a press release from the National Conference On Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) dated December 19, 2016, the California Policy Center, and its spinoff online publication, UnionWatch, were both chosen, for the 2nd year in a row, as one of only 28 “policy and research organizations” that NCPERS has deemed to be “Think Tanks that Undercut Pensions.” Ponder the significance […]

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Californians Approve $5.0 Billion per Year in New Taxes

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

For the last few years, using data provided by the watchdog organization CalTax, we have summarized the results of local bond and tax proposals appearing on the California ballot. Nearly all of them are approved by voters, and this past November was no exception. With only a couple of measures still too close to call (TCTC), as […]

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Invest California’s Pension Funds in Water and Energy Infrastructure

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” –  Peter Thiel, in his 2011 manifesto “What Happened to the Future.” Anyone living in California who’s paying attention knows what venture capitalist Thiel meant. While a handful of Silicon Valley social media entrepreneurs have amassed almost indescribable wealth, and fundamentally transformed how humanity communicates, investment in […]

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Election Integrity and the Power of Unions

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

During the 2004 Presidential election there were allegations of voter fraud; the 2000 Presidential election was alleged to have been “stolen” by the Republicans. If you go further back in history, you can point to evidence the Democratic machine in Chicago manipulated election results to throw the 1960 Presidential election victory to Kennedy. A close […]

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For Nov. 8th: $32B in Local Borrowing, $2.9B in Local Tax Increases

Edward Ring
Edward Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

New local taxes and new local borrowing are a regular phenomenon in California elections, but this year our government union controlled politicians have outdone themselves. Let’s compare: November 2014 – $11 billion in new borrowing proposed via 118 local bond measures, 81% passed. Of the 117 local proposals for new taxes, 68% passed. June 2016 – $6.2 billion […]

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