Texas vs. California: January 24, 2013 Roundup

Meant to put some of these up with Tuesday’s roundup and just misplaced them:

  • Orange County pension members find out that it’s not about politics, it’s about math.
  • Jerry Brown’s ostensibly balanced budget does nothing to pay down huge pension liabilities.
  • In the quest to shake ever-more-money out of the pockets of taxpayers, California just ignores that pesky “no ex post factor laws” section of the Constitution, eliminating a tax credit retroactively back to 2008.
  • More on that Moody’s recalculation of liabilities:

    Six California counties with their own pensions (instead of paying into the Golden State’s Public Employees’ Retirement System) would actually have to pay down $10 billion in pension deficits, versus the $4 billion they currently report bad on inflated rates of return. As a result, these counties would be expected by bondholders to pay out $1.4 billion a year just to pay down their pension deficits, more than double the $640 million they currently pay. For Contra Costa County near San Francisco, the percentage of property tax dollars devoted to pension deficit pay down would increase from 33 percent to 54 percent, crowding out funding for basic municipal activities. In short, these governments would be considered technically insolvent under Moody’s model.

  • That recalculation and other reforms should make California’s pension debt crises even more apparent.
  • CalPERS has a lot of ‘splain’ to do. Their rate of return and assets under management simply don’t add up.
  • It certainly can’t help that CalPERS managers are double-dipping for their own benefits.
  • High California taxes are one of the reasons the Sacramento Kings are about to become the Seattle Supersonics 2.0. Which seems fitting: the tax-and-spend kings in Sacramento don’t deserve a basketball team.
  • John Stossel: “It’s good that we have places like Texas and New Hampshire to which fed-up citizens can escape. In Europe, you’d have to leave your country to escape its worst laws.” And one of the states they’re escaping is California, “the Greece of America.”
  • Meanwhile, Texas notched its 72nd consecutive month with unemployment rates below the national average.
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