Pensions and Retiree Health Care Costs Contribute to LA Unified’s Fiscal Woes

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Today, Reason Foundation released a study of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) finances. We find that the nation’s second-largest school district faces insolvency largely because its steep legacy costs are being spread across a shrinking student population. With state funding dependent on average daily attendance at LAUSD schools, the district’s revenue falls as students leave the […]

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Los Angeles Unified School District Unfunded Retiree Health Benefit Liability Nears $15 Billion 

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Los Angeles Unified School District has $15 billion in unfunded retiree health care obligations, amounting to over $30,000 per student, according to a new actuarial report commissioned by the district and obtained by Reason. The cost of servicing this large “Other Post-Employment Benefit’ or OPEB liability significantly reduces funds available for instruction in the nation’s second-largest school district. […]

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Cities Worry About Climate Change in Court, not so Much When Talking to Investors

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Multiple cities and counties along the California Coast are suing big oil companies over their role in climate change. Because global warming is raising sea levels, the local governments contend that they will face staggering costs from flooding and/or from measures they will have to take to prevent flooding. To anyone worried about climate change, […]

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Berkeley, Blockchain and Pensions

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

The City of Berkeley is working on a plan to issue a cryptocurrency municipal bond to fund affordable housing. A February 7th press release said the city was working with municipal finance startup Neighborly.com and Cal’s Berkeley Blockchain Initiative to “develop a first-of-its-kind tokenized municipal bond compliant with all regulatory requirements.” While this new innovation […]

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Are Pension Trusts the Answer to California Local Government Pension Problems

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Many California cities and counties are living interesting times, experiencing rising revenue together with skyrocketing pension bills. Although required pension contributions usually rise in response to bear markets, today they are escalating just as stock indexes reach new highs.  The reason is that CalPERS and other systems are taking advantage of today’s relatively benign investment […]

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Rapidly growing hyperloop industry offers alternative to California high-speed rail

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Since Elon Musk introduced hyperloop in 2012, several startups have been formed to commercialize the technology. Hyperloop is a 21st century approach to intercity travel in which pods fly through sealed, low pressure tubes at speeds of up to 760mph. Although a large amount of hyperloop research is occurring in California, our state government is ignoring it while […]

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Auditor Report a Reminder that UC Compensation is Out of Control

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Last week’s report from State Auditor Elaine Howell reveals some disturbing budgeting and compensation practices at the University of California’s Office of the President (UCOP).  But the problem isn’t just limited to UCOP; it is a systemwide phenomenon.  We have previously reported that Robert Reich makes close to $300,000 annually to teach one class at […]

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A Progressive Take on Public Pensions

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

While the public pension crisis has been an issue on the right for many years, left-wing thinkers show relatively little interest in the issue. When progressives do opine on pensions, they often reject the alarm expressed by conservatives, seeing it as a smokescreen for unneeded austerity or a way to attack the public sector. In […]

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Prop 55, a Gamble the High Rollers will Do Well

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Proposition 55 on this November’s ballot would extend income tax rate increases for twelve additional years.  In 2012, voters approved Proposition 30, which established marginal tax rates as high as 13.3% through 2018. At the time, the tax increase was presented as an emergency measure needed to address the state’s fiscal crisis. But now that this […]

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Consequences from Smoking, Sure; But Consequences from Tobacco Tax, Too

Marc Joffe
Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation

Like the proponents of Proposition 56, I wish we could wave a magic wand and eliminate smoking. But our state government lacks a magic wand; all it can do is outlaw and tax our activities. So, from a public health standpoint, the $2 per pack cigarette tax increase mandated by Prop 56 is the next […]

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