Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

Texas vs. California Update for April 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Today sucks if you still have to finish your taxes. It sucks more in California than Texas, since you have to pay state income taxes as well. That includes a marginal tax rate of 9.3% for all those millionaires making more than $49,774 a year. As opposed to Texas’ marginal rate of 0.0% for all…

  • Rich Californians don’t seem to mind that their green fantasies are screwing the poor.
  • California Democrats are trying to write racial quotas into the state Constitution. Oddly enough, Asian Americans are actually objecting to their children getting screwed out of college admissions. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “A combination of unfriendly tax policies, military budget cuts and cutthroat competition is wreaking havoc on California’s storied aerospace industry, a new study cautions.” ​​More here, which notes that:

    Texas and Washington offer low corporate income tax and no personal income tax, while providing a stable business climate and skilled work force. Many high-profile corporations have relocated their operations to new states. Recent examples include Northrop Grumman, which moved its headquarters to Northern Virginia; Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, which moved its headquarters to McKinney, Texas; and Boeing, which moved two aircraft modernization programs, for the C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and the B-1 bomber, from Long Beach to Oklahoma City.

  • CalPERS latest report proves conclusively that the fund spontaneously generates unicorns, rainbows and jobs. The Wall Street Journal examines the claims, wipes the vaguely yellow liquid off their legs and concludes “This political report offers one more reason why taxpayers and public workers shouldn’t trust Calpers with their money and would be better served by defined-contribution retirement plans that employees own and control.”
  • The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced it faces $73.7 billion in long-term liabilities. “CalSTRS has a $71 billion unfunded pension liability.”
  • Both CalPERS and CalSTARS are desperately in need of reform.

    The state teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, needs an extra $4.5 billion each year for 30 years to pay off its unfunded liabilities. CalPERS’ local government members will see costs increase by 50 percent during the next six years. And the state needs to contribute $1 billion more per year for retiree health care benefits.

    These obligations for benefits already earned must be paid, and over the next decade, they will continue to drain funding from essential services such as education, public safety, transportation and health care.

    Yet, powerful interests remain all too eager to kick the can down the road and push our pension problems onto future generations.

  • Why California has an affordable housing crisis.
  • Is there a way out of Taxifornia? As such a solution would require liberals to stop acting like liberals, the answer is: probably not.
  • Bell’s corrupt officials agree to plea bargain deal. Bonus: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo gets 33 months on federal tax evasion charges. (Hat tip: Dwight, who has been all over the Bell story.)
  • At least 60 companies have relocated from California to Texas. But Elk Grove, California is striking back, trying to lure Texas companies to California. “The slogan: ‘Don’t wait for high taxes and stifling regulation to come to you, end the suspense and move to California’ just doesn’t seem too appealing to me.”
  • Continuing troubles with California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Sports equipment maker MonkeySports is relocating from Corona, California to Allen, Texas, adding up to some 225 Texas jobs over two years.
  • A closer look at relocations to the Austin area.
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 13, 2014

    Thursday, March 13th, 2014

    Time for another roundup of Texas vs. California:

  • Texas surpasses California as the top tech exporter.
  • Victor Davis Hanson wants to “save” California by making liberals eat their own dogfood.
  • Texas is creating jobs at all income levels.
  • Vallejo still can’t afford its pensions:

    The California city of Vallejo emerged from bankruptcy just over two years ago, but it is still struggling to pay its bills.

    The main culprit: Ballooning pension costs, which will hit more than $14 million this year, a nearly 40% increase from two years ago.
    Amid threats of legal action from the state’s pension giant, CalPERS, Vallejo did little during its nearly three-year stint in bankruptcy to stem the growth in its pension bills.

  • Rising CalPERS pension costs are also threatening Long Beach’s financial stability.
  • Berkeley is looking a little better for the short term, but after that they too will be feeling the CalPERS squeeze.
  • Pacific Grove is having a referendum to roll back pension increases.
  • California is getting ready to hike gas taxes again, adding another 12¢ a gallon to gas prices.
  • Is there a Democrat-on-Democrat battle over unions brewing in California?
  • California nursing home chain files for bankruptcy. “The dagger in the heart is that we have been overwhelmed by a wave of class-action lawsuits.”
  • A list of former Los Angeles city employees earning six figure pensions. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California rancher’s are selling their cattle to Texas ranchers due to drought.
  • Cagney Global Logistics relocates from Denver to Irving, Texas.
  • San Jose-based sheet metal manufacturer Cortec is expanding in Pflugerville.
  • Even punk rock queen Exene Cervenka is getting out of California while the getting is good:

    Now when I think about California, I think of a liberal oppressive police state and regulations and taxes and fees. I’d rather go someplace and have my own little place out on the edge of town. I’m a country girl at heart. It makes me happy when I see people in Texas open-carrying. It makes me feel safe. I’m not even a gun owner, but I’d like to see a gun rack in every pickup truck, like my boyfriend had when I was fifteen years old in Florida. An armed society is a polite society.

  • No End In Sight for Texas Oil Boom.
  • Meet the Kronies

    Monday, February 3rd, 2014

    The Kronies has already been blogged by half the rightospehre, but it’s so well done that I wanted to post it here on the off-chance you haven’t watched it yet:

    Texas vs. California Update for January 8, 2013

    Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

    Time for another look at the respective fortunes of the nation’s two biggest states:

  • Between 1992 and 2010, California lost $45.27 billion in income while Texas gained $24.94B. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • That’s one of the many reasons Texas has a $2.6 billion budget surplus.
  • California’s Attorney General imposes some strange language choices on a proposed pension reform initiative.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown to shift money from a green “cap and trade” fund to the high speed rail boondoggle. “Brown, et al., apparently believe that diverting cap-and-trade fees into the bullet train may buy enough time to move some dirt and lay some track, with the hope that once construction begins, it will create a moral/political commitment to complete the project. But the proposed diversion is more likely to be dumping more money into a bottomless rathole.”
  • Remember: Spending money on green boondoggles means less is available for paying for luxuries like heating classrooms in winter.
  • Desert Hot Springs inches closer to bankruptcy. They’ve already eliminated their fire department, owe $4 million from last year, and are expected to run out of money in April.
  • How the California city of Pacific Grove broke the law and ignored voter wishes to accumulate massive pension debts. “Pacific Grove now has a new unfunded pension deficit of about $45 million, in addition to the $20 million in pension bonds. The deficit grows at 7.5% per year (about $3.2 million compounding).” A neat trick for a city whose entire budget is around $12 million a year. The first in what promises to be a 7 part series.
  • Orange County employees enjoy a whole bunch of plush benefits.
  • There’s a movement afoot in California to replace seniority with performance for determining teacher layoffs. Another group wants to make it easier to fire sex offenders. Naturally teacher’s unions are opposing both. (Hat tip: TPPF.)
  • California declares war on hot sauce maker Sriracha.
  • Is California’s 10 day gun waiting period unconstitutional? (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
  • Restaurant chain Mimi’s Cafe relocates their headquarters from California to Texas.
  • There’s a lot of talk (not yet confirmed) that Vista Equity Partners is planning to move Active Network, Websense, and Omnitracs to Texas.
  • Evidently Los Angeles can no longer support a WNBA team. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Allied Van Lines confirmed that Texas remained the number one destination for relocation in 2013.
  • 14 things non-Texans don’t understand.
  • Dave Barry’s Year-End Roundup for 2013

    Monday, December 30th, 2013

    It’s time once again for Dave Barry’s Year End Roundup. Some highlights:

    it turned out that Obamacare, despite all the massive brainpower behind it, had some “glitches,” in the same sense that the universe has some “atoms.”

    Did anything good happen in 2013? Yes! There was one shining ray of hope in the person of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford , who admitted that, while in office, he smoked crack cocaine, but noted, by way of explanation, that this happened “probably in one of my drunken stupors.” This was probably the most honest statement emitted by any elected official this year, and we can only hope that more of our leaders follow Mayor Ford’s lead in 2014. (We mean being honest, not smoking crack in a drunken stupor.) (Although really, how much worse would that be?)

    [January] begins with a crisis in Washington, a city that — despite having no industries and a workforce consisting almost entirely of former student council presidents — manages to produce 93 percent of the nation’s crises. This particular crisis is a “fiscal cliff” caused by the fact that for years the government has been spending spectacular quantities of money that it does not have, which has resulted in a mess that nobody could possibly have foreseen unless that person had a higher level of financial awareness than a cucumber. At the last minute, congressional leaders and the White House reach an agreement under which the government will be able to continue spending spectacular quantities of money that it does not have, thus temporarily averting the very real looming danger that somebody might have to make a decision.

    Also stepping down is Hillary Rodham Clinton, who, after decades of public service, resigns as secretary of state so she will finally have a chance to spend some personal quality time with her team of campaign advisers.

    As the federal budget deadline passes without Congress reaching agreement, the devastating, draconian, historically catastrophic sequester goes into effect, causing a mild reduction in the rate of increase in government spending that for some inexplicable reason goes unnoticed by pretty much everybody outside the federal government.

    Iran announces that it is constructing a new uranium enrichment plant, which according to a government spokesman will be used for “youth sports.”

    In sports, organizers of the Tour de France announce that this year they’re going to skip the bicycle-riding part and instead just gather all the competitors into a room and see who can do the most drugs.

    the Obama administration decides to once again pivot back to the economy, which continues to falter because — economists agree unanimously on this — not enough presidential speeches have been given about it.

    In politics, San Diego Mayor Bob “Bob” Filner resigns as a result of allegations that he is a compulsive serial horn dog who groped pretty much the entire female population of Southern California. He immediately becomes a leading contender in the New York City mayoral race.

    The federal government, in an unthinkable development that we cannot even think about, partially shuts down. The result is a catastrophe of near-sequester proportions. Within hours wolves are roaming the streets of major U.S. cities, and bacteria the size of mature salmon are openly cavorting in the nation’s water supply. In the Midwest, thousands of cows, no longer supervised by the Department of Agriculture, spontaneously explode. Yellowstone National Park — ALL of it — is stolen. In some areas gravity stops working altogether, forcing people to tie themselves to trees so they won’t float away. With the nation virtually defenseless, the Bermudan army invades the East Coast, within hours capturing Delaware and most of New Jersey.

    By day 17, the situation has become so dire that Congress, resorting to desperate measures, decides to actually do something. It passes, and the president signs, a law raising the debt ceiling, thereby ensuring that the federal government can continue spending spectacular quantities of money that it does not have until the next major totally unforeseeable government financial crisis, scheduled for February 2014.

    Things do not go nearly as smoothly with the rollout of Obamacare , which turns out to have a lot of problems despite being conceived of by super-smart people with extensive experience in the field of being former student council presidents. The federal Web site, Healthcare.gov, is riddled with glitches, resulting in people being unable to log in, people getting cut off, people being electrocuted by their keyboards, people having their sensitive financial information suddenly appear on millions of TV screens during episodes of “Duck Dynasty,” etc.

    Fortunately, as the initial rush of applicants tapers off, the system starts to work a little better, and by the end of the second week U.S. Secretary of Blame Kathleen Sebelius is able to announce that the program has amassed a total enrollment, nationwide, of nearly two people, one of whom later turns out to be imaginary. But this is not good enough for a visibly angry and frustrated and, of course, surprised President Obama, who promises to get the Web site fixed just as soon as somebody answers the Technical Support hotline, which has had the White House on hold for 73 hours.

    public dissatisfaction with Obamacare continues to grow as many Americans discover that their current insurance plans are being canceled. A frustrated and — it goes without saying — surprised President Obama reveals to the nation that “insurance is complicated to buy” and clarifies that when he said “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” he was using “you” in the sense of “not necessarily you personally.”

    I hardly need to tell you to read the whole thing, do I?

    The Reviews Are In! Ryan-Murray Is Budget-Busting Garbage!

    Thursday, December 12th, 2013

    Conservatives have taken a good, close look at the details of the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, and are unanimous in their judgment: It stinks!

  • “House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has now accomplished the astonishing task of pushing House Republicans substantially to the left of the Senate GOP. His budget deal, announced Tuesday night, was achieved by shutting conservative Senate Republicans out of negotiations, by resorting to the old trick of spending now while claiming savings later, by ignoring a symbolically important budgetary red line, and by treating as Democratic “concessions” things to which even Democratic budgeteers already had agreed.”
  • “With liberal Senator Patty Murray, Congressman Ryan wants to raise spending today on the promise that Congress will restrain itself ten years from now (or whenever the benchmark will be). It’s a return to pre-sequestration Washington — spending increases today in exchange for promises of spending cuts later.”
  • “How can leadership credibly promise spending cuts later, after agreeing to a plan that rolls back the sequestration savings promised two debt increases ago?
  • Ted Cruz: “”The new budget deal moves in the wrong direction: it spends more, taxes more, and allows continued funding for Obamacare… this proposal undoes the sequester’s modest reforms and pushes us two steps back, deeper into debt.”
  • Sen. Mike Lee: “Rather than enacting reforms to make government more efficient, the budget deal makes more government more expensive. Sequestration is far from ideal, but at least it forced Congress get serious about excessive spending. This deal cuts into the modest gains taxpayers have won since 2011, by trading concrete spending reductions over the next two years for theoretical spending cuts a decade from now.”
  • Paul Ryan has given birth to a pile of garbage. The fact that it’s a relatively small pile of garbage is beside the point, since it will still stink up the place. Republican House and Senate members should haul it out to the curb.

    Texas vs. California Roundup for December 11, 2013

    Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

    Time for another roundup of Texas, Red State Champion, versus Blue State California:

  • Texas is the tenth best run state in the union, while California is the worst.
  • The vast gap between California’s haves and Have Nots.
  • The federal court Detroit bankruptcy ruling has made CalPERS nervous. As well it should.
  • Ditto public employee unions. “Government agencies should have the right to reduce future accruals, just as private-sector employers can — and they shouldn’t have to wait until they’re insolvent to do so…In California, prospective benefits are sacrosanct because of a series of poorly reasoned legal rulings…The system must be fixed before more municipalities reach bankruptcy. For state and local governments to climb out of their deep holes of pension debt, they must first stop digging.”
  • A succinct statement of the problem “California local governments cannot thrive if escalating retirement costs crowd out money for public service.” Plus: “Bargaining effectively occurs between unions and those elected largely because of money from unions.”
  • Today’s California city teetering on the edge of bankruptcy: Fresno. (“Fresno? No one goes to Fresno anymore!”)
  • 18 LA County Sheriffs department deputies indicted for “beating jail inmates and visitors, trying to intimidate an FBI agent and other crimes.” (Hat tip: Dwight, who notes “They tried to intimidate an FBI agent? Does LACSD make it a practice to hire and promote deputies who are dumber than a bag of hair?”)
  • Speaking of police behaving badly, 28 Santa Monica cops took home more than $200,000 last year. For comparison, Austin’s chief of police earns $198,819 a year.
  • Even California isn’t wild about Obama anymore.
  • California lobbyist organizes a second junket to Cuba.
  • Charting the Texas oil bool.
  • Cognizant moves operations center from New Jersey to College Station.
  • LinkSwarm for December 9, 2013

    Monday, December 9th, 2013

    A LinKSwarm to start your Monday off, with a mix of old and new:

  • Obama’s popularity down among the Obama coalition:

    Obama’s job approval rating among Hispanic Americans has plunged from 75 percent in December 2012 to 52 percent today — a drop of 23 percentage points, the sharpest decline among any voter group. Among Americans who make less than $24,000 a year, the president’s approval rating has fallen from 64 percent last December to 46 percent today. Among Americans 18 to 29 years of age, it has fallen from 61 percent to 46 percent. Among women, it has fallen from 57 percent to 43 percent.

    Evidently free contraceptives don’t trump lost jobs and insurance. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • First came the first wave of ObamaCare “cancellation shock” as policies were dropped left and right. Next comes the “Doc Shock,” as people lose physicians who won’t cut their rates for ObamaCare plans. (Hat tip: Instapundit and Ed Driscoll.)
  • Indeed, 7 out of 10 California doctors are boycotting California’s ObamaCare exchanges. When you’ve lost California…
  • So get ready to see a lot more signs like this. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • “The GOP establishment is loath to admit it, but the government shutdown is turning out to be a brilliant political chess move on the part of Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.”
  • Why the hell is Paul Ryan trying to undo the sequester cuts?
  • New York City starts confiscating rifles and shotguns.
  • On Twitter, #LiesObamaToldUs trended for three straight days. Well, it’s a target-rich environment…
  • Photojournalist robbed twice in one day in Detroit. Funny how 50 years of Democratic rule mean that government is unable to enforce its most central function: keeping the populace safe by enforcing the rule of law.
  • Why you don’t stop shooting until the threat is neutralized:

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)

  • Is Hollywood turning the Biblical story of Noah into another tree-hugging Dances With Smurfs?
  • As Little As I Can Possibly Write on Texas Constitutional Amendments

    Thursday, October 31st, 2013

    OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, since the least I could possibly write is nothing. But instead of trying to cover every bill, I’m going to point you at Blue Dot Blues, where the indefatigable MJ Samuelson is covering each amendment, so at least I don’t have to write much. Go over there and keep scrolling. Empower Texas also has a handy scorecard. I may disagree on an amendment or two, but not strongly.

    I do want to go ahead and urge a No vote on Proposition 6, which authorizes taking money out of the rainy day fund for various ill-defined water projects. This one is getting a big direct mail push from realtor and business PACs and is favored by Rick Perry, Joe Straus, Gregg Abbott and Wendy Davis. Opposing it is an odd coalition of fiscal conservatives and green party types, including Save Our Springs Austin. Some of what is covered is probably needed, but the rest has the smell of a construction boondoggle/slush fund. And what is needed should be allocated from the general fund, not raiding the rainy day fund.

    Arlene Wohlgemuth at TPPF has a bit more.

    The election is Tuesday, November 5th.

    Walter Russell Mead Visits Europe

    Thursday, October 17th, 2013

    The indomitable Walter Russell Mead has been traipsing around Europe, and has much of interest to report from various countries there regarding the continuing slow-motion Euro crisis.

    The Italians? Not happy.

    The Italians feel caught in a cruel trap; the euro is killing them but they don’t see any alternative. When a German visitor gave the conventional Berlin view (the southern countries got themselves into trouble by bad policy, and austerity is the only way out; budget discipline and cutting labor costs are the only way Italy can once again prosper), a roomful of Italians practically jumped on the table to denounce his approach.

    The Italian position is basically this: it’s crazy to blame Italy or the other southern countries (except Greece, which nobody seems to like very much) for the euromess; Germany played a huge role in designing the poorly functioning euro system in the first place and remains its chief beneficiary. When German banks lent billions to Spanish real estate developers and hoovered up the bonds of southern countries, where were the German bank regulators? German politicians, say the Italians, don’t want to admit to their voters that incompetent German bankers and incompetent German bank regulators wrecked the German financial system by making stupid loans worth hundreds of billions of euros. In a “normal” world, German politicians would have to go to their taxpayers to fund a huge bailout of insolvent German banks thanks to their cretinous euro-lending. Pain would be more equitably distributed between borrowers and lenders.

    From an Italian point of view, much of Europe’s austerity isn’t the result of German moral principles; Italians think that a cynical absence of moral principles led the German political class to scapegoat garlic-eating foreigners in a desperate attempt to prevent the voters from noticing just how recklessly incompetent the German elite really is. Germany is using the mechanisms of the euro to force southern governments to bail out German (and French and other northern) banks at immense social pain and economic cost. The Italians, even sensible and moderate ones who want to cooperate with Europe, totally reject the logical and moral foundations of the German approach to the crisis, and they feel zero gratitude or obligation to make life easier for Germany as the drama unfolds.

    The French? Not happy.

    In France, the people I spoke with worried about the rise of the National Front. According to some polls the ultra-right could emerge as the biggest party in France in the next round of regional and European elections. The French Socialists under the increasingly unpopular President Hollande don’t seem to have much idea about how to move forward; their most popular politician at the moment is a Minister of the Interior who is trying to compete with the National Front for the anti-immigrant vote by breaking up encampments of Roma and denouncing them as immigrants who don’t want to assimilate.

    Also they, and the rest of Europe, seriously misunderstand the Tea Party:

    One of the reasons Europeans are so fearful of the Tea Party is that they assume that because it is right wing and populist it is like the National Front in France or Golden Dawn in Greece. Today’s small government American Tea Partiers are much farther from Huey Long and Father Coughlin in their political views than some European right wingers are from the darker demagogues of Europe’s bloody past, and until the European establishments understand this, they will likely continue to misjudge the state of American politics.

    The Germans? It’s complicated.

    There are Germans who sympathize with the Italian critique of EU austerity policy, but Germans on the whole seem to feel that in pushing a tough reform agenda in Europe, and linking further payments and bailouts to that reform agenda, they are doing their neighbors a favor. They sincerely believe that their own relatively strong economic performance is the result of their willingness to accept some liberalizing reforms coupled with a commitment to fiscal prudence. They think that by exporting this model they are helping other European countries on the path to lasting prosperity, and they believe that with some patience, the other European countries will soon begin to experience the benefits of German-style economic reform.

    Europe, of course, has a very unhappy history with things labeled “German-style.”

    Mead feels that Europe is rich enough to continue subsidizing it’s Euro-folly for the immediate future, but it comes at a cost:

    The bitter public feelings generated by the euro crisis and its long, painful aftermath are still working their slow and ugly way through the European political system. In country after country we are seeing steady gains by political movements that bear a superficial resemblance to the American Tea Party, but in fact flirt much more with the kind of dangerous nationalist and chauvinist ideas that have proven so destructive in Europe’s past.

    It’s a sobering, moderately lengthy read, and I commend all of it to your attention.