Sacramento Pension Spin

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

When I started focusing on California pension matters in 2005 I quickly learned that Sacramento is a company town. The company is government and in place of shareholders are government employees who spin financial and legal fictions about pensions to journalists living inside the same beltway. Journalists at that time generally bought the spin but […]

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California Must Do Better in Delivering Services

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

Dear Legislators, We are increasingly concerned about poor performance of critical state services. According to the US Department of Labor, in June only 52 percent of First-Time Claims for unemployment in California were addressed within 14 days and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, teachers at San Francisco Unified School District have been given no […]

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In Support Of More Prison Reforms In California

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

Nearly five decades ago, elected officials in California started enacting sentencing laws that rapidly filled the state’s prisons. Only in the last decade did that process start to reverse. Effecting political change is not for people with short attention spans. Momentum for reform continues and Govern For California has been pleased to support organizations like […]

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California’s Debt Folly –Unnecessary spending on retiree health care is crushing the Golden State.

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

California has asked Washington for $14 billion in Covid-related support, in addition to the $8 billion already provided by the CARES Act. But because the state, with an annual General Fund of $150 billion, incurs more than $24 billion of annual expenses for pensions and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) — including post-employment subsidies for health […]

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How to Free the Budget Hostages

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

Governor Newsom’s Revised Budget proposes cuts to programs in the event more federal COVID funds are not provided. We propose a solution that would free the 10 programs below and improve the state’s structural deficit without jeopardizing the financial security of retired state employees. The first eight programs would be funded by savings from substituting Oregon’s or Colorado’s programs for providing […]

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More Budget Do’s and Don’ts

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

Having served in state government during two difficult budget periods (2003-4 and 2009-10) and on the Volcker-Ravitch State Budget Crisis Task Force in 2012, I have participated in and studied many bad and good state budget practices. Some takeaways: Maintain Perspective. As Governor Newsom pointed out last week, the state’s expected shortfall this time is […]

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California’s Request For Federal Funds

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

About Governor Newsom’s request for $14 billion of additional federal support– Even when added to the $8 billion already provided to California by the CARES Act, the total ($22 billion) would be less than half the $48 billion proposed for California under the HEROES Act passed by the US House of Representatives last week. But, […]

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California Isn’t Colorado

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

Recently California joined with Colorado in asking the federal government for more COVID-related financial support for states but the two states have very different needs for the money. California spends $120 per resident — nearly $5 billion per year — on insurance subsidies for retired state employees (known as “OPEB”) while Colorado spends only $5 […]

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Budget Do’s and Don’t’s

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

Dear Legislators, Soon you will be addressing the budget. Three suggestions: Permit no cuts, layoffs or borrowings before retirement spending is trimmed. School districts, UC, CSU, community colleges and the state are diverting $25 billion per year to retirement spending that should be reduced before services are cut, employees are laid off, or funds borrowed. […]

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School Finances

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

School budgets will be a big issue facing legislators upon their return to Sacramento.  In 2012, voters passed a ballot measure entitled “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education” that, when combined with a rising stock market, sharply boosted school funding (“Proposition 98 Funding”): But even that sharp increase in revenue could not keep pace with the […]

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