Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category

LinkSwarm for December 12, 2014

Friday, December 12th, 2014

You might not know from scanning the headlines of what the mainstream media wants to focus on, but there’s been a lot of liberal meltdown this week, among the MSM themselves especially:

  • Social Security to become insolvent in 2024. Thanks Obama! (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The Gruber hearings: More “I don’t remember” than a Peter Gabriel video.
  • Wendy Davis earns Texas Monthly‘s Bum Steer of the Year. You know a Democrat had to have an epic train wreck when the lefty sorts over there are pretty much forced to put them on the cover…
  • Rapes by Democratic bundler Terry Bean or Democratic Capitol Hill staffer Donny Ray Williams? “Meh.” “The Press isn’t all that interested in stories that reflect badly on Democrats.”
  • Feminists prefer narrative to truth. “There is nothing that is nice or kind or empathetic about the subordination of truth to narrative.”
  • More on the same theme: “When questions first emerged, a number of people treated quashing those questions as the moral equivalent of war, attacking the questioners as if being skeptical of a story was itself wrong — rather than exactly the spirit of inquiry that makes science, and public debate, work…When we get wedded to our narratives, we become blind.”
  • “After four years of disastrous liberal Democratic rule, led by President Obama, the desperation of the left is now contributing to its own decline. And it’s not just recent defeats at the ballot box: The Democrats’ systematic overreach is destroying the credibility of their messengers and belittling the causes they want to promote; making it harder for them to identify and solve real problems.”
  • 35 federal agencies plan to share your health data. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Feminists have used Title IX as a far-reaching tool to reorganize higher education to their ideological agenda.
  • “How feminism left me.”
  • We have a strong candidate for Most Clueless Example of Liberal White Female Privilege On Salon. Granted, it’s a target-rich environment…
  • Obama official who enabled illegal alien flood is resigning in advance of hearings How convenient…
  • “It is now clear beyond all reasonable doubt that Hitler and his associates believed they were socialists, and that others, including democratic socialists, thought so too.”
  • How 401Ks are killing off defined-pension plans. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • #GamerGate is winning. “The ‘gamergate’ controversy cost Gawker Media ‘seven figures’ in lost advertising revenue, the company’s head of advertising Andrew Gorenstein said at an all-hands meeting on Wednesday afternoon.”
  • “All lives matter.” “APOLOGIZE!” WTF? Congratulations, Social Justice Warriors. You’re now officially a cult.
  • ISIS beheads four children for refusing to convert to Islam.
  • Joe Biden lectures Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Islam, which is like Kayne West lecturing Stephen Hawking on quantum physics.
  • Indonesia editor to face blasphemy charges for mocking ISIS. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • India judge decides that country’s Child Marriage Act doesn’t apply to the Religion of Peace. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Yet he who has never had a snake-throwing fight at a Tim Hortons cast the first stone. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • “Man With Gender Studies Degree Terrorizes Party”. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • And I’m not covering the CROmnibus debacle yet because I haven’t even read the summary of the summary of the summary of what’s in that monster…

    Venezuela Takes The Express Lane To The Dustheap Of History

    Thursday, December 11th, 2014

    There’s been a lot of talk of how low oil prices are screwing Russia, but Venezuela is, if anything, more screwed thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism™:

    U.S. currency is vital to Venezuela, which imports as much as 80% of what it consumes; 96% of its exports are petroleum products…In effect, the one-third decline in the price of oil means that the state oil company must either raise or divert enough production because Venezuela effectively owes China 67 million barrels of oil, roughly 27 million more than it did before, for this loan alone. And there are billions of dollars in other loans to consider.

    And the outlook for the immediate future is equally grim:

    Venezuela’s economy is expected to contract in 2014 and 2015, and even though it’s already recognized as the 14th least competitive economy in the world (according to the World Economic Forum) and the eighth-worst economy for doing business (according to The World Bank), [President Nicolas] Maduro’s laws seem to discourage private investments even more. The new laws reinforce bureaucracy and the difficulty of doing business in the country, particularly in the area of taxes.

    “Increasing numbers of low-income Venezuelans are souring on Maduro as they suffer a declining economy, the highest inflation in the Americas, chronic shortages of basic goods and one of the world’s highest murder rates.”

    If Venezuela’s economy collapses, they might take Cuba down with them, since the Castro brothers are so heavily dependent on Venezuelan oil subsidies to prop up their own moribund economy.

    Compounding Venezuela’s crises is the fact that it’s probably going to default on its bonds. So they’re finally reaching the point in socialism where the run out of other people’s money. Next to that singular problem, U.S. sanctions on government Venezuelan officials for killing protestors are a trivial irritation…

    Imagine a Highly Insightful Post on the Texas Budget Process Here

    Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

    The folks at the Texas Public Policy Foundation are cranking up the analysis in advance of next year’s budget fight. So this would be the perfect time to offer up a deep, insightful delve into the labyrinth structure of the Texas state budget process, from the roles of the Legislative Budget Board and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts all the way to the Governor’s desk, to the intricate details of the biannual and supplemental budget processes. Such a piece would also break down the various revenue streams, from oil and gasses leases, property tax, sales tax and federal grants.

    Too damn bad I’m not doing that.

    It’s not for lack of material. Just in the last few days, TPPF has produced:

  • A detailed call for greater transparency in the Texas budget (funny how government always seems to spend more (never less) than the legislature actually authorized)
  • A look at what an actual conservative Texas budget would look like; and
  • A real Texas Budget Worksheet, with lots of tiny little rows of historical budget data.
  • But frankly, I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving and have fallen behind on a ton of stuff I need to do (raking leaves, vacuuming, cooking and book cataloging, to name but four), so I’m going to pass on the heavy analytical lifting today, thank you.

    But don’t let me stop you…

    Texas vs. California Roundup for November 26, 2014

    Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

    Who knows how many people will read this in the rush of Thanksgiving travel:

  • Texas’ economy continues to kick ass.
  • In fact, Texas set a record for new jobs for the third month in a row. (Hat tip: The Twitter feed of Texas’ incoming governor.)
  • Texas also leads the nation in oil and gas jobs created. (Hat tip: Texas’ incoming Comptroller.)
  • CalPERS retirees will soon soon outnumber active workers. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s death by pensions.
  • Bankrupt San Bernardino caves in to CalPERS.
  • Still, court rulings make it possible that bankrupt cities may shed pension obligations in the future.
  • You know how California’s Prop 30 tax hikes in 2012 were supposed to prevent university pension hikes? Guess what? “Despite the massive tax hikes ostensibly to keep higher education affordable, the University of California Board of Regents just announced a sizable increase in tuition.” Let’s hope that students at California universities learn the proper lesson: tax hikes are never temporary.
  • Indeed, tuition will increase around $15,000 by 2019.
  • The underfunded liabilities across all California pension systems adds up to $130 billion.
  • Pension crisis divides California Democrats on UC tuition hikes.
  • Demands from union-backed environmental group torpedo plans for a Japanese-owned factory in Palmdale, California.
  • Education reform loses in California.
  • California is spending $33 million to get rid of 800 non-endangered birds.
  • Costa Mesa motel residents sue over a law requiring them to move every 30 days.
  • Some Tweets:

  • Blogroll Addition: Pension Tsunami

    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    Since they linked to me yesterday, I’ve finally done what I’ve meant to do for a long time, namely get up off my ass and add Pension Tsunami to the Blogroll. They offer a great daily news roundup on the looming unionized public sector pension crisis that threatens to bankrupt cities and states across the country (especially California).

    I’ve also added the new “California/Pensions/Unions/Etc.” link category and moved Kausfiles there as well.

    Expect more additions to that blog category Real Soon Now.

    Kay Hagan’s Family Dips Their Beaks Into The Stimulus Trough

    Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

    It’s no longer a surprise when Democratic cronies rake in the benefits from pork programs created by Democratic Senators and Representatives. After all, giving out taxpayer money to connected interest groups is pretty much the Democratic Party’s business model. However, the family of North Carolina’s Democratic Senator Kay Hagan has taken it to the next level:

    Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband and son created a solar energy contracting company in August 2010, and then, using $250,644 in federal stimulus grant funds, her husband hired that same company to install solar panels at a building he owns.

    Public records show that Green State Power was formed seven weeks before JDC Manufacturing — a company owned in part by Greensboro attorney Charles “Chip” Hagan III, Sen. Hagan’s husband — received the stimulus grant for the solar project at a 300,000-square-foot facility in Reidsville, N.C.

    A story in late September on the Washington, D.C.-based website Politico revealed that JDC Manufacturing received “nearly $390,000 in federal grants for energy projects and tax credits created by the 2009 stimulus law, according to public records and information provided by the company.”

    The story reported that JDC “was one of 27 in North Carolina to be awarded funds for energy-efficient projects, to the tune of about $250,000. The company received the money in 2011, after the first phase of the project was completed in late 2010.”

    And needless to say, Kay Hagan voted in favor of the pork-laden stimulus her family so richly benefited from.

    From a purely amoral viewpoint, you have to admire the brazen efficiency of sucking down the maximum amount of taxpayer subsidies at every stag of the project pipeline. It’s like The Human Centipede of recycled graft…

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    Texas vs. California Update for September 17, 2014

    Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • The Texas economy continues to hum along:

    During the second quarter, Texas employers added 148,200 net nonfarm jobs—an average of 49,400 per month. This amounts to an 18 percent share of all jobs created nationwide over this period in a state with only 8 percent of the country’s population and about 10 percent of total economic output. Over the last year, the addition of 382,200 net jobs in Texas was more new jobs than any other state. These employment gains increased the annual job growth rate to 3.4 percent, which is higher than those of the national average and other highly populated states.

  • The city of Los Angeles is at an impasse over police raises: the police union (naturally) wants raises, while the city says they can’t afford them. So what happens next? The issue goes before the Employee Relations Board, which just happens to be packed with union-approved appointees. In one-party Democratic cities and states, it’s always government together with unions against taxpayers. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The ugly reality is that so long as the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS are controlled by public employee union loyalists, pension reforms enacted by state lawmakers and signed by governors will never live up to their billing.”
  • Jerry Brown lies about pension spiking.
  • Why San Antonio’s public-private partnerships are better at dealing with drought than Los Angeles.
  • A FAQ on Costa Mesa’s pension situation. Including answers to such questions as “How could the $228 million in unfunded pension liabilities affect the city budget?”
  • Watsonville, California passes a sales tax hike solely to pay for additional union pension payments.
  • A judge rules that bankrupt San Bernardino can cut firefighter pension benefits in order to exit bankruptcy.
  • A union-sponsored bill tries to increase liabilities for companies that hire contractors.
  • California is evidently cooking up a whole new batch of unconstitutional gun laws.
  • A look at phony baloney jobs numbers for California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Firefly Space Systems is relocating from California to Burnet County, Texas. “King said Firefly was attracted to Texas partly because of its business and regulatory climate.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out California offers a lousy climate for business. Or to put it another way: My days of underestimating California’s ability to improve its business climate are certainly coming to a middle…
  • Drone-maker Ashima is relocating to Reno, Nevada from California.
  • If you hadn’t heard, Tesla is building its battery factory in Nevada, not California.
  • An actual good law out of California: A law that prevents companies from suing customers for negative reviews.
  • North Carolina offered twice as much incentive money to Toyota but still lost out to Texas for relocating their HQ.
  • Your dedicated BART employee in action:

  • Texas vs. California Update for August 25, 2014

    Monday, August 25th, 2014

    Another look at how Texas stacks up to the no-longer-so-Golden state:

  • Problem: Those lousy taxpayers get pension reform passed. Solution: CalPERS uses “99 categories of ‘special pay’” to go on a pension spiking orgy.
  • What are some of those 99 categories? “Clerks who type well. Cops who shoot straight. Librarians who are “assigned to provide direction or resources to library patrons.” I’m too scared to check if “Teachers who don’t rape their students” is an actual category or not…
  • Governor Jerry Brown is sending mixed signals on the pension spiking issue.
  • Who actually owns the CalPERS gap between actual funding and what they’ll need to pay out? “CalPERS can be risky (and it has been) with no consequences. The taxpayers have all the responsibility, but none of the control.”
  • So how much payroll and pension did Stockton trim in their bankruptcy? Zero.
  • There is no California comeback. “Personal income-tax revenues fell by 11 percent in the first quarter of this year and more than 6 percent through June.”
  • California cities are among the slowest to recover from the recession.
  • The only way California can get pensions under control is through a constitutional amendment.
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is asking for more money. They’re also asking Angelinos to overlook their high salaries and lack of accountability.

    City leaders are battling with DWP’s union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, to release financial records of a nonprofit trust, run jointly by labor- and management-appointed trustees, that has run through $40 million in ratepayer money. Brian D’Arcy, IBEW Local 18’s business manager, has refused to turn over the trust’s financial records, and DWP executives have said they don’t know how the money was spent.

  • California voters get to weigh in on a 7.5 billion water bill in November, which seems to have considerably less pork than a previously delayed $11 billion bill.
  • So how does bankrupt San Bernardino plan to climb into the black? Cutting back on outrageous pensions? Ha, you must be high! “Help us, weed, you’re our only hope!”
  • I know this is a shock, but California’s High Speed Rail Authority is behind schedule on buying land for it’s doomed boondoggle.
  • Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz opposes ride share programs like Uber and Lyft. Strangely enough, he’s also received $11,000 in campaign contributions from the taxi industry. Quid pro, meet quo.
  • YTexas helps companies relocating to Texas connect with local businesses.
  • Ridiculous Bureaucratic Compensation in the UK

    Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

    It’s not just California. The bureaucratic apparatus has a way of feathering its own nests across the globe.

    Take the “town hall tycoons” in the UK, for example:

  • There were at least 2,181 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2012-13, a fall of 5 per cent on the previous year’s 2,295.

  • Despite this, 93 councils increased the number of staff who received remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2012-13.
  • Keep in mind that at current exchange rates, £100,000 is somewhere north of $180,000.

    Texas vs. California Roundup for July 30, 2014

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

    Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • How Los Angeles is killing itself. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn.)
  • Texas places five cities on list of top 10 growing cities: Austin, Dallas, McAllen, Houston and San Antonio.

  • California school officials are still grossly overpaid. Including 31 janitors who make more than $100,000 each. (Hat tip (for this and a few more): Pension Tsunami.)
  • And many of these munificently compensated employees are double-dipping: “More than 1,000 retired instructors who had already begun receiving their state-funded pension continued to work and receive a salary from districts in 2013.”
  • Only in California could a bill that requires 32 years to catch up and fund parts of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s current $74 billion in unfunded liability be hailed as a major reform.”
  • Essential school services in California are about to be cut to pay for doubled pension payments.
  • San Francisco landlords are suing the city over a law that requires them to pay as much as two years rent for evicted tenants. Of course, many landlords were evicting people because insane rent control laws make it almost impossible to sell a building that actually has tenants…
  • How the Texas model supports job creation.
  • Evidently male students simply aren’t welcome in California colleges. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Actual headline: “LA Councilman Convicted Of Voter Fraud Will Continue To Collect $116K Annual Pension.”
  • What a conservative Texas budget should look like.
  • California retail apparel chain Love Culture files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Evidently summer bankruptcies for retail stories are very unusual, since this is the time they start stocking up for the holiday season.
  • Another California for-profit university chain shuts down.
  • Oakland Raiders to move to San Antonio?
  • Are inherited IRA’s exempt from bankruptcy hearings in California? It depends on which precedent the judge chooses to follow.
  • Not news: Houston ISD holds job fairs looking for teachers. News: In North Carolina.