Posts Tagged ‘California’

Texas vs. California Update for December 17, 2014

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • California’s unfunded health care obligations for retired employees hits $72 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Meanwhile, the state comptroller says that California’s unfunded pension liabilities has hit $198 billion. (Ditto.)
  • California may extend benefits to illegal aliens taking advantage of Obama’s amnesty.
  • Speaking of which, both California and Texas are on the hook for providing education for illegal alien children. “Today, those figures are $14.4 billion for California and $8.5 billion for the Lone Star state.”
  • California will go broke if it doesn’t adopt pension reform.
  • Lessons for California from Texas’ boom.
  • Costa Mesa police union tries to pin false DUI charge on City Councilman. Hilarity ensues. (Hat tip: Dwight.) And what caused the police union to go after him? Pension reform.
  • Pension spiking widespread in Cosa Contra County. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s high speed rail boondoggle won’t work with the current tracks.
  • Health industry software company vitaTrackr announces relocation of its headquarters from Baltimore to Austin.
  • Builders FirstSource announces expansion in San Antonio and Conroe.
  • Texas vs. California Update for December 4, 2014

    Thursday, December 4th, 2014

    It’s another Texas vs. California update!

  • The real reason the University of California system is raising taxes: “The real driving force behind the tuition hike is the university’s woefully underfunded pension system, which currently serves 56,000 retired employees. It’s a generous system, despite some reductions the university made for new hires in recent years. An Associated Press analysis found 2,129 retired UC employees collect pensions of more than $100,000 a year; 57 receive more than $200,000; and three receive more than $300,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Here’s the rare Texas vs. California item where both Texas and California get dinged: “Calpers holds about 75% of its portfolio in stocks and other risky assets, such as real estate, private equity and, until recently, hedge funds, despite offering benefits that, unlike IRAs or 401(k)s, it guarantees against market risk. Most other states are little different: Illinois holds 75% in risky assets; the Texas teachers’ plan holds 81%.”
  • A look at the relative pension costs of three bankrupt California cities: San Bernardino, Stockton and Vallejo. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Magpul, is moving its headquarters from newly gun-hostile Colorado to Austin. This is on top of moving its manufacturing facilities to Wyoming.
  • “Something is happening in California. An unstoppable movement for reform is building, attracting support from conscientious Californians.” Much as I’d like to believe it, I remain skeptical that real education and pension reform can happen in California as long as it remains a one-party Democratic state… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How California’s three-decades old Proposition 65 is threatening to bankrupt small businesses and enrich trial lawyers.
  • California: Roads? We don’t need no stinking roads. 57% of San Diego County’s projected infrastructure spending is on mass transportation…and critics are saying that’s not enough.
  • I’m surprised that I stumbled on this piece on the Newport Beach Police Department before Dwight did:

    In recent years, daily examples of faithful public service inside the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) have been overshadowed by alarming corruption. City officials ignore or downplay the misconduct, but NBPD bosses turned the agency into a darker, stupider version of Animal House. Court records and internal documents show the city’s boys in blue have accepted gratuities in exchange for favors, gotten frat-boy drunk at work, lied under oath, passed out confidential information to pals, encouraged oral sex from female job applicants, committed wild adultery on duty, doctored official reports, hurled feces, dished out horrific domestic violence against wives and girlfriends, engaged in intoxicated bar fights, issued criminal threats, vandalized property, converted powerful agency spy equipment to personal use, and rigged promotion systems to ensure mostly see-no-evil, management-loyal employees rise–and let the hijinks continue.

    Plus open war against whistle-blowers.

  • Speaking of public employees behaving badly, from Dwight comes this story of LA firemen being investigated for faking certifications.
  • Texas home sales reach their highest level in five years.
  • The headquarters of national buyer’s co-op NATM Buying Corp. is moving from Long island, New York to Irving, Texas.
  • Finally, in case you missed it a few days ago, three Texas budget links from the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

  • A detailed call for greater transparency in the Texas budget
  • A look at what an actual conservative Texas budget would look like; and
  • A real Texas Budget Worksheet, with historical budget data.
  • 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:

  • Texas vs. California Update for October 23, 2014

    Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

    With all this election news popping up, this may be the last Texas cs. California roundup until after November 4:

  • New poverty figures are out from the Census. To quote a Texas Public Policy Foundation email about them: “The government report shows that, when accounting for some cost of living differences from state-to-state, Texas’ poverty rate dipped 0.5 percent to 15.9, the national average. Meanwhile, California still has the nation’s highest poverty rate at 23.4 percent. ”
  • “Back in 2005, some 1,841 retirees pulled down more than $100,000 a year in pension checks from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. By 2009, this so-called “$100K club” had more than tripled, to 6,133 members. And by the end of 2013, membership had nearly tripled again, to 16,838, according to data from CalPERS.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami)
  • “How CalPERS ranks: average service, high costs.” (Ditto)
  • “With the Los Angeles Unified School District Board ready to fire Superintendent John Deasy, he resigned as head of the nation’s second-largest public school system just six months after he spiked his annual salary to $384,184 with $54,184 in buy-outs.” Bonus: Deasy came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he pushed Common Core.
  • The police union is suing the city of Vallejo for cuts made to their pensions during the city’s bankruptcy. if they win, they could push the city into bankruptcy again.
  • Among those 99 CalPERS pension-spiking buffs: Library Reference Desk Premium, Front Desk Assignment Premium and Audio-Visual Premium. “Hey look, I plugged the projector into my laptop! Give me a pension bonus, California taxpayers!” (Pension Tusnami again.)
  • California plows forward with drivers licenses for illegal aliens.
  • San Francisco landlords win in court: “A federal judge ruled Tuesday that San Francisco cannot solve its housing shortage by requiring landlords, through a relocation assistance ordinance, to retroactively pay massive amounts to evict tenants under California’s Ellis Act.”
  • A California athlete earning a gross of $20 million a year is down to $9,100,000 remaining after taxes and commissions.
  • Though Texas is doing better than California when it comes to pensions, there’s no reason not to move from a defined benefit plan to 401Ks for new hires.
  • Alternative to What? Evidently Profitability

    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    Via Dwight comes word that alternative weekly the San Francisco Bay Guardian has ceased publication. Alternative weeklies used to have a market niche as carrier mediums of left-wing opinion, music gig listings and porn ads. The Internet has taken over the music and porn listings, and the left-wing opinion market is glutted not only online, but with MSNBC, New York Times, CNN, NBC, CBS, Washington Post, NPR, etc.

    But if you can’t make money with an alternative weekly in San Francisco, where can you? (And keep in mind that this was after they received a settlement from rival SF Weekly.)

    Well, probably Austin. At least as long as you have an enormous, money-making music festival attached to it…

    (Flashback: “I missed the Bay Guardian’s coverage of their investor’s indictment on child prostitution charges.”)

    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.

    Texas vs. California Roundup for October 9, 2014

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • If Stockton bankruptcy judge’s ruling is upheld, a lot of California cities could actually start working for citizens again, rather than public employee unions.
  • There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Stockton’s bankruptcy. Too bad Stockton’s officials seem unwilling to learn them:

    Pension contributions for public-safety workers now amount to 41 percent of payroll. That would put the total cost of salary, health benefits, and pensions at about $120,000 annually for a fifth-year officer…The long saga of Stockton’s decline dramatizes the inefficiency and illogic of union-dominated, monopolistic, government-labor markets.

  • But letting cities escape their crushing public sector union pension burdens doesn’t sit well with California’s looter class. Solution: propose eliminating Chapter 9 bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • According to the September labor report, California did manage to add 313,900 jobs between August 2013 and August 2014. But Texas added 395,200. (Hat tip: WILLisms Twitter feed.)
  • California legislature decides that students don’t need any of that stinking due process.
  • Hey, remember those “temporary” tax hikes Jerry Brown got voters to approve? Guess what?
  • California’s roads are among the worst in the country.
  • Someone should tell that to the city of Stanton, California, which reached for tax hikes rather than cutting the pay of unionized workers.
  • How San Jose reformed their finances using transparency. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How California browbeat Toyota over closing a money-losing plant.
  • The California-based manufacturing facility of Colorado-based Boulder Electric Vehicle shuts down after receiving a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission.
  • How California’s for-profit Thomas Jefferson Law School got itself into serious financial trouble through excessive dependence on loans (both the student type and the tax-exempt bond type).
  • Americans don’t want their state to secede so much as they want to kick California out of the union. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn of KRTraining.)
  • A look at PSAT participation rates in Texas. (Also via WILLisms.)
  • Californian Trip Hawkins, of EA, Apple and 3DO fame, filed for bankruptcy in 2011. This year, the 9th circuit ruled that a profligate life style (for certain values of “profligate”), does not, in fact, constitute a “willful” attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Mr. Hawkins seemed to be living well, but not necessarily living large
  • California owner of Akron, Ohio mall abandoned since 2008 declares bankruptcy. And since it’s the Halloween season, and abandoned malls are wonderfully creepy places, here’s a pic:

  • A Quick Look At Texas Migration Patterns

    Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

    Will Franklin of WILLisms put up an interesting link on his Twitter feed: A PDF of Texas relocation data from the Texas Association of Realtors.

    There’s lots of interesting information to be gleaned:

    The 2014 Texas Relocation Report shows that Texas continues to be a national leader in relocation activity and a sought- after location for households moving out of state.

    According to the report, Texas gained more out-of-state residents than any other state in 2013, with 584,034 people moving to Texas from out of state. A majority of these residents originated from California (66,318), followed by Florida (32,619), Oklahoma (29,169), Louisiana (29,042), and Illinois (28,900).

    Texas ranked third in the nation for number of residents moving out of state in 2013 (409,977), coming in behind California (581,689) and Florida (423,995) and topping New York (401,440), and Illinois (304,674). Like with incoming residents, a majority of the residents who moved out of state moved to California (32,290), followed by Oklahoma (27,391), Florida (24,226), Colorado (23,490), and Louisiana (21,747).

    Overall, Texas had a net gain of out-of-state residents in 2013, with 138,057 more people moving into Texas than Texas residents moving out of state in 2013.

    So roughly twice as many people moved from California to Texas as vice versa.

    Other nuggets from the report:

  • Both Harris and Dallas counties had net negative outflows, though their surrounding counties more than made up for it in population growth.
  • Williamson county had the third largest net population inflow, with Hays fourth, behind Denton and Brazos counties, but well ahead of Travis. Indeed, Williamson’s population growth was three times that of Travis.
  • Despite that, Travis got more out-of-state migration inflow than Williamson, which I take to mean that Travis got more Californians and Williamson got more Texans fleeing The People’s Republic of Austin.
  • If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the report, it actually says most of Williamson’s in-state inflow came from Travis, but numbers of people moving from Williamson to Travis are so low they’re not even in the the top five. Indeed, more people moved to Walker County (home to Huntsville) than to Travis.
  • What does this mean politically? As Ace of Spades noted in their ginormous .PNG, conservative areas of the state are gaining population, while liberal strongholds are losing ground. The two largest liberal counties (Bexar and Travis) to gain population were outpaced by population growth in conservative Denton County alone.

    Conclusion: Despite Democrats talking up demographic shifts, don’t expect Texas to turn blue anytime soon…

    Texas vs. California: Hispanic Edition

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    I don’t know how I missed this Mike Gonzalez editorial in the Dallas Morning News from early September, but it’s well worth your attention. It goes into some detail on how Texas Hispanics are radically outperforming California Hispanics.

    The relative advantage that Hispanic Texans have in key cultural indicators is strongly related to the state’s dynamic economic growth and small government. But because Texas’ smaller government has allowed civil society to grow organically, there is a strong cultural background that must be considered.

    In fact, when factoring in both economic and cultural factors, one can say that California and Texas stand for two completely different faces of the Hispanic experience in America or, more to the point, the Mexican-American experience. The question is whether the two states will continue to lead two different Mexican-American subcultures in the future, or whether one approach will come to be the dominant one nationwide.

    Let’s first look at the statistics, starting with one of the most important ones: unemployment. In 2013, Texas’ Hispanic population boasted an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. That was more than 2 percentage points lower than the national Hispanic average (9.1 percent). More important, it was better than the overall national average of 7.4 percent and only six-tenths of a percent higher than Texas’ overall rate (6.3 percent).

    Meanwhile, California’s Hispanics lagged across the aboard. Their unemployment rate of 10.2 percent underperformed all the national averages and was 1.3 percentage points higher than California’s overall unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.

    One thing that may account for the lower Hispanic unemployment in Texas is that Hispanics in the Lone Star State are much more entrepreneurial than those in the Golden State. Texas’ rate of Hispanic-owned businesses as a percentage of the Hispanic population is 57 percent, whereas California’s is 45 percent.

    Texas Hispanics also do better when it comes to social statistics than do their California counterparts:

    Hispanics in Texas are 10 percent more likely to be married than those in California (47 percent to 43 percent), and close to 20 percent less likely never to have been married (36.9 percent to 43.5 percent), one-third more likely to have served in the military (4.1 percent to 2.8 percent), and one-third as likely to have received Supplemental Security Income public assistance (2.4 percent to 6.2 percent).

    One of the most eye-popping statistics I have come across is that Hispanics in Texas are much more likely to live in an owner-occupied home than those in California (56.8 percent to 42.9 percent).

    Education? Same thing:

    The educational gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanic white students is much smaller in Texas than in California, where it is statistically significantly higher than it is in the rest of the nation.

    The fourth-grade mathematics gap for Texas was 20 points, below the national average; in California it was 28 points. For the eighth grade, the Texas gap was 24, compared with California’s 33. In reading comprehension, the fourth-grade Texas gap was 22 and California’s was 31, and for eighth-graders, Texas’s gap was 22 and California’s was 28.

    The difference in welfare recipients between Texas and California is dramatic:

    With 12 percent of the total U.S. population, California has 34 percent of the welfare caseload, for an overrepresentation of 238 percent. Or, to put it another way, though only 1 of 8 Americans lives in California, 1 in 3 welfare recipients lives in California.

    California’s 34 percent is not just the highest; the state is the only one in double digits. New York, which has the second-largest percentage of active welfare cases in the country, has a comparatively miserly 7 percent of the nation’s caseload.
    By contrast, Texas, with 8 percent of the U.S. population, has only 3 percent of the U.S. welfare caseload, for an underrepresentation rate of 35 percent.

    Read the whole thing.

    Gun and Crime Roundup for September 23, 2014

    Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

    Been a while since I did a roundup on gun news and examples of criminal stupidity, so here it is:

  • Study shows that banning “assault weapons” has no effect on crime.
  • The Missouri House and Senate override the veto of Democratic governor Jay Nixon for expanded concealed carry.
  • California is evidently cooking up a whole new batch of unconstitutional gun laws. (A repeat from the latest Texas vs. California update, but it certainly fits here as well…)
  • The New Jersey Star-Ledger comes out for mandatory gun confiscation. Perhaps New Jersey gun owners should come up with a boycott of all Star-Ledger advertisers until the editorial board is replaced…. (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
  • A look at the crappy, unverified statistics used by the gun grabbers in Nevada. “The source links given by Nevadans for Background Checks do not lead to any independent research on gun background checks, but lead solely back to statements by a gun-control advocacy group that are unsupported and ignore conflicting evidence.” (Hat tip: Alphecca.)
  • One police officer’s advice on how police can rewin the public’s trust: End the militarization, wear cameras, and end the drug war (or at least the war on marijuana). (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Dear Pennsylvania State Police: Please note that there is no void when searching for a cop killer clause in the Bill of Rights.
  • The Brady Bunch is suing an ammo manufacturer for the crazy Colorado movie shooter? Really? “It does sound like a civil action that is a sure loser, brought in hopes of gaining publicity. That of course runs a big risk of getting hit with sanctions.” (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned)
  • Homeowner’s rights against criminals: “It is called confinement. In the situation where someone has illegally come inside a person’s home or workplace, that person can hold the intruder by force until police get there.”
  • Broken Windows: How a tiny bit of criminality (things stolen from open garages) has escalated to home invasion in an Austin neighborhood. Close your garage doors and lock your doors and windows at night, people…
  • Break into a home, get shot. That’s the Houston way.
  • Speaking of Houston, gun sales there are off 18%.
  • Four Chicago gangbangers decide to execute a 9-year old boy. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • Speaking of murderers of 9-year olds, Texas executed Lisa Coleman on September 17.
  • Pro-tip: If you don’t want to be arrested, try not to smuggle “38 pounds of marijuana, two disassembled .40 caliber semi-automatic weapons and 350 pounds of ammunition” onto a plane at JFK airport.
  • Pro Tip: Don’t try to hold up a man with the gun you’re buying from him off Craigslist. Especially since it’s unloaded. (Hat tip: Sipsy Street.)
  • If you’re going to get drunk and go joyriding, try not to crash in the home of the medieval weapons enthusiast, which will help minimize your chances of being stabbed with a spear. (Hat tip: Sipsy Street.)