Posts Tagged ‘CalPERs’

Texas vs. California Update for February 26, 2015

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • CalPERS believes that it has police powers to seize property to sell to support public employee pensions. “It is hard to imagine a bigger or more blatant example of collusion between business interests and government employees at the expense of ordinary private citizens.” Plus the impossibility of maintaining the 7.5% returns necessary for the pension fund to remain solvent. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • CalPERS and CalSTARS want direct proxy access for candidates for corporate boards.
  • Speaking of CalSTARS, the cost of funding it going forward looms large on California’s horizon.
  • Stockton exits bankruptcy.
  • Daughters of Charity Health Systems sues the SEIU over interference in a merger deal.
  • Part of the demands from California’s liberal Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris to approve the merger include forcing currently Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.
  • It’s all but impossible for the Middle Class to live in Silicon Valley.
  • West coast port strike ends. Yet another reason to ship through Houston instead…
  • Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick files a bill for $4.6 billion in tax relief.
  • Texas Right to Work laws help keep the state prosperous, but more can be done.
  • Texas vs. California Update for February 19, 2015

    Thursday, February 19th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • U.S. bankruptcy judge presiding over the Stockton case says pensions are not sacred and can be cut in bankruptcy. “CalPERS has bullied its way about in this case with an iron fist insisting that it and the municipal pensions it services are inviolable. The bully may have an iron fist, but it also turns out to have a glass jaw.”
  • Public employee pensions: Stealing from the young and poor to give to the old and rich. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s entrepreneurs still think the business climate sucks. “In the 2014 survey, 63.5 percent called the small business climate poor, with just 10 saying it’s good. This year 60 percent still consider the business climate poor with 16.5 percent finding it good.”
  • By contrast, low oil prices won’t torpedo Texas’ economy. “Texas’ economy today is more resilient to oil price fluctuations thanks to industrial diversification and pro-growth policies.”
  • California’s combined capital gains tax rate is the third highest. Not third highest in the U.S., third highest in the world, lower only than Denmark and France.
  • How environmentalists made California’s drought worse.
  • Two unions are on different sides of a proposed sale of six struggling Catholic hospitals to a private company.
  • Defense contractor “Advantage SCI, LLC announced today that the company will relocate its headquarters to Alexandria, Virginia (Fairfax County in Old Town Alexandria) from El Segundo, California, after recognizing the high costs related to worker’s compensation, liability, and taxes that plague businesses in California.”
  • Coffee roaster Farmers Brothers is leaving California for either Oklahoma or Texas.
  • More on the Farmer Brothers relocation. “After surviving depressions, recessions, earthquakes and wars, Farmer Brothers is leaving California, finally driven out by high taxes and oppressive regulations.”
  • California Democrats file bills to force the state to get 50% of its energy from renewable energy by 2030. They’re basically putting up yet another big red sign to manufacturers: “We’ll make it impossibly expensive for you to do business here.”
  • Why health care in California is less affordable than elsewhere.
  • The mess that is California’s homeowner earthquake insurance.
  • California property owners aren’t wild about being forced to sell their land for the high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Arlene Wohlgemuth on why Texas should avoid the siren song of Medicare expansion. (Also, best wishes to her for a speedy recovery from her motorcycle accident.)
  • California’s top lifeguard pulls in a cool $236,859 in total compensation. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Lewd yoga dentist filed for bankruptcy.” A San Diego dentist, which is my pretext for including it here, but really, how could I not link a headline like that?
  • Texas vs. California Update for January 21, 2015

    Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
  • The working poor benefit from a lower cost of living in red states.
  • Five of the top ten U.S. cities in economic growth in 2014 were in Texas: Austin, Houston, Ft. Worth. Dallas and San Antonio. (There were also two in California: San Francisco and San Jose.)
  • The Texas Comptroller has released the Biennial Revenue Estimate 2016-2017, which estimates $113 billion in general revenue-related funds available. The report details also notes that “In the past six years, Texas created two-thirds of all net new jobs in the U.S.”

  • By contrast, with the California budget more or less temporarily balanced, Democrats want to start spending like drunken sailors with a stolen credit card again. Legislative analyst: You don’t want to do that.
  • The average CalPERS pension is up to five times comparable Social Security payouts.
  • Jerry Brown says he wants to tackle California’s pension crisis. Good luck with that. While Brown has occasionally been willing to buck his party, and may feel he has nothing to lose in his last term, there’s no reason to believe the Democrat-dominated state House and Senate share his sentiments. I predict a few cosmetic measures passing combined with a whole lot more can kicking until actual default looms. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Central Valley farmers say farming is doomed in their areas.” California’s water regulations are driving them out of business.
  • Stockton’s bankruptcy judge: screw secured debtors, we’ve got to start paying retirees.
  • Key figure in CalPERS pension fraud case apparently committed suicide. Hmmm…..
  • California’s Set Seal retail chain files for bankruptcy.
  • John G. Westine of California convicted of 26 counts of mail fraud in a phony Kentucky oil well scheme.
  • Bankruptcy lawyers gone wild!
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Texas vs. California Update for July 16, 2014

    Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

    Some other stuff bubbling up, so here’s a Texas vs. California update to tide you over for a while:

  • Former Calpers CEO Pleads Guilty to Corruption Conspiracy.
  • As part of his plea, Fred Buenrostro also agreed to testify to testify against his friend and former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos. Sing, canary, sing!
  • How CalPERs corrupts California politics.
  • Jobs are leaving California and coming to Texas.
  • Texas’ low-tax, low-regulation approach favors job creation.
  • How Texas compares to both California and New York.
  • Why California’s high speed rail boondoggle is still doomed.
  • Stockton’s bankruptcy judge may declare that CalPERS is just another creditor.
  • Bell City Councilman sentenced.
  • Texas vs. California Update for July 3, 2014

    Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

    Enjoy Independence Day tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby wasn’t the only important Supreme Court case last year. The Harris vs. Quinn decision, invalidating mandatory union fees for home health care workers, could have a huge impact on SEIU in California. “where 400,000 state-paid in-home care workers are represented by the SEIU.”
  • Former CalPERS CEO to plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges.
  • At least 1,500 Bay Area employees have racked up $50,000 in yearly overtime. “A Monterey County jail guard who worked enough overtime to nearly triple his annual base pay to $264,000 last year.”
  • Wonder why San Bernardino is bankrupt?

    “San Bernardino, California, said that to exit bankruptcy it must terminate a union contract that pays an average annual salary of $190,000 to each of its top 40 firefighters,” according to an article in Bloomberg. That’s just salary. Firefighters receive the generous “3 percent at 50″ retirement package that allows them to retire with 90 percent of their final years’ pay at age 50. And there are lots of pension-spiking gimmicks and other benefits on top of that.

    “These cities are run for the benefit of those who work there. Public services are a side matter at best.”

  • Murrieta, California Protesters greet Obama Administration shipment of illegal aliens with protests, blocking them from being dumped in their community.
  • Judge strikes down Pacific Grove pension initiative.
  • Some bay-area California cities want to hike they local minimum wage. Hey, that won’t hurt businesses here in Texas, so knock yourselves out…
  • More on Toyota’s relocation to Texas, along with some tidbits on the Texas economy:

    Toyota’s move to Texas is a high-profile relocation, but Texas has been used to adding — and filling — new jobs at a superlative pace. The state added more than 1.9 million new jobs over the period from December 1999 to April 2014, more than 35 percent of the entire nation’s total for that 15-year period, noted Michael Cox, an economics professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And Texas had an unemployment rate of just 5.1 percent in May, 16th-lowest in the United States.

    Meanwhile, Cox noted, Texas’s median wages are 28th-highest in the nation; and they rank 8th-highest after adjusting for taxes and prices. Texas schools rank 3rd, he said, after adjusting for variations in student demographics, a raw statistic which places Texas 28th in the nation.

    “We’re able to accomplish all this and more because the business environment in our state is largely competitive, and free markets solve problems,” Cox told me. “Texas is a meritocracy, where incentives still work to produce good results.”

  • “Six current and former members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were found guilty Tuesday of obstruction of justice.
  • Grand Jury:”Hey, you might want to consider a pension reform task force.” City of Napa: “Get stuffed.”
  • Santa Ana-based Corithhian Colleges could be headed for bankruptcy.
  • Texas is now home to more Fortune 1000 Companies than any other state.
  • Liberals are still upset that Texas’ red state model is kicking the ass of California’s blue state model. Enter the Texas Tribune, which admits that:

    Drive almost anywhere in the vast Lone Star State and you will see evidence of the “Texas miracle” economy that policymakers like Gov. Rick Perry can’t quit talking about….

    This hot economy, politicians say, is the direct result of their zealous opposition to over-regulation, greedy trial lawyers and profligate government spending. Perry now regularly recruits companies from other states, telling them the grass is greener here. And his likely successor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has made keeping it that way his campaign mantra.

    It’s hard to argue with the job creation numbers they tout. Since 2003, a third of the net new jobs created in the United States were in Texas. And there are real people in those jobs, people with families to feed.

    But the piece also notes that Texas has led the nation in worker fatalities for seven of the last ten years. I’m not going to get into the details of worker compensation that make up the bulk of the piece, and it is quite possible there is some room for improvement in worker safety. But I do want to note that, as the second largest state in the union, and the one with the biggest oil and gas industry, it’s not terribly surprising that Texas would have the largest number of fatalities, since oil and gas has a fairly high fatality rate (though not injury rate) compared to other industries (see page 14 here).

  • Texas vs. California Update for June 20, 2014

    Friday, June 20th, 2014

    Believe it or not, there seem to be a few actual glimmers of sanity in California in the latest roundup:

  • Texas: Not just leading the nation in jobs, but doing it more equitably as well.
  • “The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states.” More: “Texas has a lower Gini coefficient (.477) and a lower poverty rate (20.5%) than California (Gini coefficient .482, poverty rate 25.8%).” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Perhaps the biggest crack in the “Blue State” model this month was a state superior court judge ruling that California’s teacher protection laws were illegal, because they violated the equal protection clause for students. How the Vergara vs. California decision plays out on appeal is anyone’s guess, but just recognizing that union contracts that keep crummy teachers employed harms students is a huge step forward.
  • New California payroll and pensions numbers are now available. “The data shows that public compensation in California is growing more out of control, threatening the solvency of the state and local governments.” Let’s take a look at a few locales, shall we?
  • Will wonders never cease: CalWatchdog calls the just-passed California budget “fairly prudent.”
  • The legislature also passed a law almost doubling the amount of money school districts pay into CalSTARS.
  • But don’t let that fool you: California’s legislature is still crazy.
  • Especially since California Democrats just elected a new Senate leader guaranteed to pull them to the left.
  • But Republicans are poised to torpedo California Democrat’s Senate supermajority.
  • Desert Hot Springs is contemplating dissolving it’s police force to avoid bankruptcy. (By my count, 21 Desert Hot Springs police officers make more than $100,000 a year in total compensation. Including five officers who make more than the Police Chief…)
  • San Bernardino has evidently reached agreement with CalPERS in it’s ongoing bankruptcy case, but no details have been reported.
  • They also closed a gap in a yearly budget thanks to some union concessions. But one union is balking, and its members are threatening to join the SEIU instead.
  • The California town of Guadalupe considers bankruptcy. One problem is that the town has been illegally transfering money from dedicated funds (like water bills) to general funds. “If voters do not pass three new taxes in November, Guadalupe is expected to disband its police and fire departments, enter bankruptcy or disincorporate, meaning it would cease to exist as a city.”
  • Ventura County residents collection enough signatures to force a ballot measure on pension reform. Response? A lawsuit to keep it off the ballot.
  • Los Angeles 2020 Commission goes over what changes the city needs to avoid a future where “40% of the population lives in ‘what only can be called misery,’ ‘strangled by traffic’ and hamstrung by a ‘failing’ school system.” Response? “Meh.”
  • Sickout among San Francisco municipal bus drivers. Good thing poor people don’t depend on buses for transportation…
  • Huge growth in Texas apartment complexes.
  • California’s prison system illegally sterilizes female inmates against their will.
  • The Obama Administration Department of Education is driving the California-based Corinthian for-profit college chain out of business.
  • A Californian discusses why relocation to Texas might be attractive, and hears the pitch for Frisco, Texas.
  • “‘Building a business is tough. But I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,’ Perry says.”
  • California regulators can’t be arsed to come out and check flaming tap water.
  • California bill to add warning labels to soft drinks fails.
  • California-based nutritional supplement maker Natrol files for bankruptcy, mainly due to class action suits. I note this because I’ve found their 3mg Melatonin to be really effective as a sleep aid.