David Crane Breaks it Down in Layman’s Terms, Public Employee Pension Benefits, General Funds, Special Funds, Non-discretionary, Fiscally-protected and Discretionary

David Crane has a new piece cross posted today at Fox and Hounds Daily and on Advancing a New Society
The title, With Retirement Costs Consuming One-Fifth of Discretionary Spending, California Must Reduce Un-Accrued Pension Benefits makes the point plain and simple. Then Crane breaks it down, for those who don’t understand the distinctions of public finance funds, budgets, and projections.

He breaks public funds down into categories, and even provides a chart for those of us who love graphics to help drive a point home.

Pensions and other retirement costs will consume more than 23% of discretionary state spending in fiscal year 2012-13, according to the budget recently passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown – nearly three times the share taken up by retirement costs just ten years ago.

For Californians, rapid growth in retirement costs has meant less money for universities, parks, courts and other services as well as a temporary tax increase in 2009 and another being proposed currently (one of three proposed tax increases on the November ballot – Propositions 30, 38 & 39). In the absence of reform, that share will grow, which means even more taxes and fewer services.

California’s general and special fund spending for 2012-13 is budgeted at $131 billion and effectively fits into three categories: Non-discretionary, Fiscally-protected and Discretionary.

Allow me to explain all three in layman’s terms:  (click here to go to Fox and Hound to read the full article)

Public Employees, the new aristrocracy that rules CA: Slashes to services for the poor while they get pay raises

California Workers Get Pay Bump Even as Brown Seeks Cuts
By Michael B. Marois – May 29, 2012 

As California Governor Jerry Brown seeks a temporary 5 percent pay cut from public employees to fill the largest state deficit in the U.S., many of those same workers are poised for raises next year.

Labor contracts covering 140,000 workers grant increases of about 3 percent to top earners beginning in July 2013, according to the Personnel Administration Department. About 34,000 employees became eligible this year as the raises began to be incorporated.

Brown, facing a $15.7 billion deficit through June 2013, is seeking savings in a state where unionized public employees are paid more than government workers in other states, and civil- service protections hamper dismissals. The 74-year-old Democrat wants to save $400 million by shortening the work week by two hours. That will require approval from unions representing 182,000 of the state’s 214,000 workers.
Click here to read more

California Counties Are More at Risk of Going Belly Up, than Cities…

This is the fifth in a CalWatchDog.com Special Series of 12 in-depth articles on municipal bankruptcy.
April 11, 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

“…If the courts rule that existing pension plans are constitutionally protected and unchangeable, then we are likely looking at formal bankruptcy for many local governments.

With the basics of municipal finance explained, let’s look at the fiscal — or budgetary — situation that California cities and counties find themselves in today.
City and County Budgets on the Verge of Upset…”

Many California cities are under fiscal stress due to the protracted contraction of the economy. Many of those cities will be staring down bankruptcy waves as public pension obligations start kicking in during the coming years.

One of the largest prospects for bankruptcy is that of…”

Click here to read the report.

Tonight on Gadfly Radio: Martha Montelongo w/CalWatchDog’s Steve Greenhut & John Seiler, w/ Guest, Carlos A. Rodriguez, on the Role of Latinos in CA Politics, His Efforts to Recruit Them to Liberty’s Cause, & His Stand on Immigration Policy

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929

This week, CalWatchDog‘s Steven Greenhut and John Seiler both join me on the show.  We’ll be joined by Carlos A. Rodriguez.   

Carlos was the 2010 Libertarian Party Candidate for U.S. Congress, CA District #28.  He got 8% of the vote, in a district with a very high Latino population.   He is an immigration attorney, a Libertarian, committed to advancing the Libertarian Party, and he’s a Cuban American, which gives many Latino Democrats fodder to cast aspersions and dismiss his credentials as “authentically” like the majority of Latinos in California.  

We’ll ask Carlos about his positions on policy and politics related to public employee benefits and pensions, education, property rights, his own political evolution and his self-identified strongest suits– the role of Latinos in CA politics and his team’s efforts to recruit them to liberty’s cause, and the issue of immigration. 
Other news for discussion on tonight’s show, from CalWatchDog’s Website, re-posted here:

Breaking News

MAY 10, 2011 By DAVE ROBERTS “I’ve never forgotten Jack Kemp saying the way we define compassion is not by adding up how many people receive government benefits, but rather tallying the numbers of those who no longer need them. The Democrat Party is not interested in that definition of compassio…

MAY 9, 2011 By KATY GRIMES California residents planning automobile road trips this summer beware. The Department of Motor Vehicles is not allowing July auto registrations to be paid. The DMV has been ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown to refuse to accept payment of all two million July vehicle regis…

MAY 9, 2011 By JOHN SEILER Californians keep looking for ways to boost our economy, which also would bring in more revenue to the state government. The Legislature still is struggling with a budget deficit of about $15 billion, after $10 billion in cuts were made. Here’s an idea: Switch to …

MAY 6, 2011 By STEVEN GREENHUT Yet another report released this week confirms the enormous liabilities that California taxpayers must endure to pay for pensions for public employees. The study, released at a Pension Boot Camp for elected officials held in Citrus Heights by the reform group Cal…

News from Around the State

We’ll touch on as many of these stories with our hosts and guest, as time permits, and get your imput if you want to give us a call during the show. 

My mission for this radio program is (I quote here the mission statement of The Future of Freedom Foundation. I agree with their stated mission,  by which I am inspired and for which I stand, to the best of my ability), “to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government.”
 I am committed to being a stand and a cause for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that creates jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives.   Thank you for supporting our enterprise, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.  I value your patronage. 

It’s a pleasure to share this program with CalWatchDog’s team of government watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce!

Join us Tuesday nights, on Gadfly Radio live in Southern California or where ever you are.  California is a land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, if we get it right.   Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the player below: 

Shout out to Reason for this post: Farewell, My Lovely How public pensions killed progressive California

by Tim Cavanaugh from the March 2011 issue

…“This year we’re spending 10 percent less on higher education than we did 10 years ago, parks and recreation 40 percent less, environmental protection 80 percent less,” Crane told me in the fall of 2010, “while spending on pensions is up 2,500 percent. So when Democrats realize what is happening and act in the interest of the people they represent, they will address the pension problem in California.” Like so many other reformers, Crane is a registered Democrat who supported Jerry Brown.

The Democratic Party has folded Sacramento into one of the tightest one-party grips in contemporary American politics. In November, bucking the national trend, Democrats in California won not just the governorship but 51 Assembly seats to Republicans’ 29, 24 state Senate seats to Republicans’ 14, and every statewide office. With the passage of a referendum lowering the number of legislative votes required to approve a state budget (from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority), California is that rarest of land masses for the 2011 Democratic Party: conquered territory. State Democrats have freedom to rule virtually unchallenged by the scattered, rusticated Republicans. Click here to read more.

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California’s Americans for Prosperity has produced this hard hitting video Exposé– “Common Sense”: Around the World on $69 Million in Welfare Funds

It appears Grifters hit pay dirt in California! They get an ATM card with access to the hard-earned cash extorted from taxpayers in the name of for-the-public-good, and they use it in style, on cruise ships, at exotic resorts around the world and living the good life. It beats holding up a bank. A heck of a lot safer and easier.

As long as the politicians who make this possible continue to get the votes they need to stay in power, working people whose money is confiscated in the name of taxes, will remain the schmucks who are left holding the bag, until there is no schmo left to squeeze.

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Rubio Republicans: Republican candidates can talk tough on immigration and still do well with Hispanic voters if they can convincingly promote a message of economic opportunity.

(John Fund says convincingly. I think it’s more like with warmth and a genuine desire to establish a powerful connection that connect mind and heart. Corny? Well, that’s what “mi casa es tuya” or “mi casa es su casa” is all about. Good luck, and ¡salud!)

When it comes to Hispanic voters, last week’s elections were a tale of two results for Republicans. On one level, the GOP can take pride in the fact that 31% of all Hispanic members of Congress are now in their party. But on another level, the overwhelming Democratic advantage among Hispanics helped cost the GOP key Senate seats in Nevada, Colorado and California.

The next Congress will feature an unprecedented five new Hispanic Republicans. Two are from Texas and defeated Democratic incumbents – Bill Flores of Bryan and Quico Conseco from San Antonio. Jaime Herrera was elected to an open seat in Washington state. Raul Labrador defeated a Democratic incumbent in Idaho. David Rivera won an open House seat in Florida, just as Marco Rubio won that state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. In addition, Republicans elected two Hispanic governors — prosecutor Susan Martinez in New Mexico and Brian Sandoval, a judge, in Nevada.

But Hispanic voters also powered the come-from-behind victories of two Democratic Senators. Hispanics accounted for 14% of the electorate in Nevada, up from 12% in the last midterm election of 2006. The two-to-one advantage they gave Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed him to win by a surprising 50% to 45% margin. In Colorado, Hispanic voters made up 13% of the vote, up from only 9% four years ago. Their big margin in favor of Democratic Senator Michael Bennet helped him pull off a come-from-behind victory.Click here to read more.

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“California’s leadership’s embrace of AB32/SB375 is unlikely to achieve any of its goals. It will be a drag on economic activity. Its impact on global greenhouse gasses will be negligible. Worse, it is very inefficient. Economic research is not ambiguous. Subsidies and command-and-control regulation are far from the cheapest way of improving the environment.”

I’m voting yes on Prop 23, and if you care about jobs, you will too.
California cool may be legendary, but as the Huey Lewis song says, sometimes bad is bad, and California’s economy is bad, very bad, and it’s not going to get better soon without real change. Plenty of lawmakers, especially the governor, are counting on renewable energy and green industry to provide California with an economic rebirth. It won’t happen. Read why here and here.

I’m thinking that now would be a good time for Californians to lose their cool.
Californians value cool. I’m not sure how this came to be. It might be the weather. It might be the entertainment industry. Whatever the reason, Californians don’t get excited. Better to go with flow than to get excited. Things will be ok. Concerned about the economy? Stay cool Dude. It’ll come back. Always has. Always will. Relax.

It’s not cool to get excited, or heaven forbid, panic. Californians are not quick to react to problems, so confident that eventually the problem will just go away. This was forcefully brought home to me when a member of California’s legislature told me that “It doesn’t matter what we do in this building. California will always rebound.”
Click here to read more.

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