Posts Tagged ‘Chuck DeVore’

Texas vs. California: Cali Goes Batshit Insane Edition

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

California has long had a tenuous grasp of what the rest of us regard as consensus reality. But two new pieces of legislation suggest they’ve gone off the deep end into full Victimhood Identity Politics land:

  • First, they decided that police shootings wouldn’t be subject to the grand jury process, because what’s a little things like two centuries of due process and the fifth amendment to the Constitution when there are policemen to be railroaded to satisfy black protesters?
  • They also decided to purge the words “illegal alien” from state statutes, because what’s mere law when there’s political correctness to be pandered to?
  • Of course, that’s not all that’s new on the Texas vs. California front:

  • “California taxpayers paid out big bucks to state workers in 2014. How much? More than the Gross Domestic Product of 100 countries, according to new data published by the State Controller’s office. In 2014, more than 650,000 state employees earned a total of $32 billion in wages and benefits.” It gets better: “Nine hundred sixty-nine state employees earned more than the President of the United States.” Added irony:

    The lowest paid average workers represented agencies focused on the environment, women and people with disabilities. According to the state’s 2014 payroll data, the average salary for the 11 state employees at the California Commission on Disability Access was just $15,213 per year, slightly more than the $14,494 average salary paid to the four employees at the Commission on the Status of Women.

  • There is no California. Only Zuul…
  • Texas unemployment rate: 4.2%. California unemployment rate: 6.2%. (Hat tip: WILLism’s Twitter feed.)
  • Los Angeles’ new minimum wage has wrecked hotel employment. Or maybe just non-illegal alien employment… (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Why Public Services in California Decline Even As Revenues Rise. “Until California’s leaders address the three elephants – retirement, healthcare and corrections costs — that are crowding out public services and causing unproductive tax and fee increases, citizens will continue to suffer and inequality will continue to grow.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Chuck Devore on what makes Texas friendly to business: less red tape and lower taxes.
  • Voters to San Jose City Council: We want pension reform! San Jose City Council to voters: Get stuffed! (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • TV’s CHiPS never seemed to be involved in ethics scandals the way the current administration is, including no-bid contracts to European companies. (Bonus: it’s also suitable for Dwight’s Art Acevedo watch.)
  • California’s “Green Jobs Initiative” spent $297 million to create 1,700 jobs.
  • More on the same theme, and Tom Steyer wasting $29.6 million of his own money pushing it, from City Journal.
  • California’s SFX: from billion dollar company to bankruptcy.
  • Texas vs. California Update for June 24, 2015

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

    It’s been a while since I did a Texas vs. California update, so this is going to be a meaty one:

  • The Texas Comptroller has released a 50 state overview of how Texas stacks up to other states. There’s a lot of information to mine there. A few nuggets”
    • Texas ranks first as the best state for business, while California ranks 50th.

    • Texas ranks as the best state for net migration; California ranks 49th.
    • There are area in need of improvement. Texas ranks 49th in states whose residents over 25 hold high school diplomas. California? 50th.
  • Texas has enjoyed 100 straight months of unemployment below the national average. (Now it’s 101 months, but I can’ find a link right at the moment.)
  • The previously mentioned California pension reform ballot initiative has been filed.
  • Can it help California voters avoid pension armageddon?
  • “Low Taxes And Economic Opportunity In Texas Lead To Youth Population Boom.”
  • I was unaware that CalPERS owns its own planned community in Mountain House, California, and which it’s invested more than $1 billion in. A community that in 2008 was the most underwater in terms of mortgages in the entire country, and which was estimated to be worth only $200 million at some point. And now their water is being cut off due to the drought. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Speaking of the drought, California is running on empty:

    We suffer in California from a particular form of progressive immorality predicated on insular selfishness. The water supplies of Los Angeles and the Bay Area are still for a year longer in good shape, despite the four-year drought. Neither area is self-sufficient in water; their aquifers are marginal and only supply a fraction of their daily needs. Instead these megalopolises depend on intricate and expensive water transfer systems — from Northern California, from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and from the Colorado River — that bring water and life to quite unnatural habitats and thereby allow a MGM or Facebook to thrive in an arid landscape that otherwise would not support such commerce and population. Without them, Atherton would look like Porterville.

    Quiet engineers in the shadows make it all work; the loud activists in the media seek to make it unwind. These transfers have sterling legal authority and first claims on mountain and northern state water. If Latinos in Lemon Cove are going without household water, Pyramid Lake on I-5 or Crystal Springs Reservoir on 280 are still full to the brim.

    Why then do those who have access to water delivered in a most unnatural way seek to curtail supplies to others? In a word, because they are either ignorant of where their own water comes from or they have not a shred of concern for others less blessed, or both. We will confirm this ethical schizophrenia should a fifth year of drought ensue. Then even the most sacrosanct rights of transferred water will not be sufficient to accommodate the San Francisco and Los Angeles basins. Mass panic and outrage will probably follow, and no one will care a bit about the delta smelt, or a few hundred salmon artificially planted into the San Joaquin River watershed, or a spotted toad that holds up construction of an urgently needed reservoir.

    The greens who pontificate about the need to return the San Joaquin watershed to its 19th-century ecosystem will become pariahs. When the taps run dry in Hillsborough and Bel-Air, very powerful people will demand water for their desert environs, which will in fact begin to return to the deserts that they always were as the thin veneer of civilization is scraped away.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Hey, remember how California’s are always saying “Sure, Texas has lower taxes, lower cost of living, and better job growth, but California’s awesomely moderate weather beats Texas’ summer heat hands down!”?

    Yeah, not so much this year… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • California legislature votes to reinstate Kelo-like seizure of private property for private development use. Shamefully, 12 Republicans joined Democrats to vote for eminent domain abuse.
  • “Pension payments are starving basic city services.”
  • A Marin County grand jury wants more openness about government employee salaries and pensions. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Of the four “minority majority” states, minorities in Texas are doing best.
  • California farm workers are suing to get the United Farm Workers out of their lives and pockets.
  • Among cities with high prices and stagnant wage growth, California has the nine worst, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Jose.
  • Because California homes just didn’t cost enough already, new energy regulations are going to make them even more expensive.
  • The San Bernardino sheriff’s department has used a “stingray” to capture cell phone communication over 300 times in the past year or so without a warrant.
  • Apple continues expanding in Austin.
  • Texas is one of the states General Electric might leave Connecticut for.
  • California-based retailer Anna’s Linens files for Chapter 11.
  • California holding company Premier Ventures uses yet another bankruptcy filing to prevent an Akron, Ohio mall from being sold at auction. (Previously.)
  • Not news: California bankruptcy filing. Still not news: From a fraud judgment. News: For a lawsuit first filed in 1989.
  • Texas vs. California Update for May 14, 2014

    Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Chief Executive ranks the states for business friendliness. Once again, Texas is ranked the best state for doing business in. And once again, California is ranked the worst.

    “Texas is the best state for business and I don’t see anything to slow TX down. The education and quality of eligible employees is excellent right now. Business is booming and growing quicker and more rapidly in 2014 than any other year. It’s an exciting time in Texas.”

    “California goes out of its way to be anti-business and particularly where one might put manufacturing and/or distribution operations.”

    “California continues to lead in disincentives for growth businesses to stay.”

    “California’s attitude toward business makes you question why anyone would build a business there.”

    “California could hardly do more to discourage business if that was the goal. The regulatory, tax and political environment are crushing.”

  • California Governor Jerry Brown unveils a budget that takes baby steps toward actual pension and budget reform. Naturally Brown’s fellow Democrats in the state legislature are fighting him every step of the way.
  • Texas vs. California? Try Houston vs. California:

  • California state rep thinks the minimum wage in the state should be $26 an hour. I agree, especially if they call it the “Let’s Drive All Remaining Business to Texas Act”…
  • When he was a San Diego City Councilman, California Democrat Congressman Scott Peters not only underfunded the city’s pension plan while hiking benefits, he indemnified the pension board for doing so.
  • More on Peters, via an attack ad:

  • “A new analysis of California’s independent public retirement systems suggests they are more woefully underfunded than they appear, and that Los Angeles County is among the worst of all.”
  • Bankrupt Stockton’s last remaining big creditor refuses to take 1¢ on the dollar for debts the city owes. (Remember: State pension fund CalPERS didn’t take any haircut at all.)
  • In bankrupt San Bernardino, talks between the city and CalPERS are making the federal judge overseeing the case impatient.
  • Chuck DeVore on why Texans trust their state government more than most:

    Then factors that appear to explain from 13 percent to 30 percent of the differences in trust among the states: rate of union membership,with more trust in states with lower union membership; state’s level of soft tyranny, a measure of the power of state government over its people; percentage of state and local taxes as a share of income, with lower taxes leading to more trust; the right to keep and bear arms, with citizens trusting a government that trusts them to defend themselves; a business-friendly lawsuit climate; the days the legislature is in session, with less trust as the legislature approaches full-time; and the average commute time, with less time spent in traffic leading to more trust.

    Lastly, a combination of from two to four of the previous factors correlates to 34 to 41 percent of the trust in each state with a mix of four: taxes, gun rights, lawsuit reform and commute time, showing the highest link to trust. Comparatively speaking, Texas lawmakers have done well in these four areas of public policy.

    When building trust in state government, enacting liberty-minded legislation is a good place to start.

  • But it isn’t all sunshine in Texas Local debt continues to rise, though Eanes School District voters finally decide that they’ve had enough and defeat a bond proposal.
  • Texas vs. California Update for June 27, 2013

    Thursday, June 27th, 2013

    Time for another update of just how hard Texas is kicking California’s ass:

  • Chuck DeVore has the skinny on California’s recent “growth:”

    The BEA revised California’s real GDP growth downward from 2009 to 2011 in each of three years by a cumulative 2.6 percent, the third-largest negative revision in the nation.

    In other words, California’s economy shrank an additional 2.6 percent before it grew 3.5 percent.

    So, in the past five years California’s real GDP contracted 0.3 percent, one of ten states where economic activity was less in 2012 than it was in 2008.

    By contrast, the BEA revised Texas’ growth upward by 0.5 percent from 2009 to 2011.

    Texas’ newly revised real GDP growth from 2009 to 2012 was 13 percent.

    From 2009 to 2012, California’s share of the U.S. economy shrank from 13.1 percent to 12.9 percent while Texas’ portion of the American economy increased from 8.2 percent to 9 percent.

  • Walter Russell Mead joins in:

    What should be the Federer vs. Nadal of state-level competition has become a lopsided trouncing: Texas has humiliated its opponent in straight sets. The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis is out with its state-by-state economic growth numbers for 2012, and Texas is dancing the two-step all over California’s “recovery.”

  • “Texas and California provide real-world results from the so-called laboratory of democracy — the states. The results aren’t even close. Texas wins and has been winning for years. California, champion of the big government blue state model, is in a death spiral. Texas, champion of the small government red state model, continues to grow and lead the way.”
  • California Democrats lose their supermajority, so they have to get one last “screw you” tax hike in.
  • California’s legislature has the highest salary in the country. (By contrast, Texas legislators make $600 per month, plus a per diem that’s currently $139 for every day the Legislature is in session.)
  • The Nanny State wants to regulate nannies. “Yo dawg, I heard you liked nanny states, so I put the nanny state in charge of your nannies so the nanny state nannies can nanny nannies.”
  • Billionaire Texas Democrat seeks to reform California pensions. Might want to pop some popcorn for this one. (Arnold does indeed give primarily to Democrats, but recently he’s also made contributions to Ted Cruz ($2400 in 2011), Tom Coburn and the RNC, plus a relatively paltry $200 donation to John McCain in 2010.)
  • Remember: If you’re going to kill somebody, it’s far better to do it in California than Texas. “At the pace the state has executed inmates over the last 35 years – roughly one execution every three years – it would take the state about 2,000 years to clear its backlog.” Why is why rail-traveling serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz was executed after 7 years in a Texas prison, but “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez spent 23 years living at the expense of California taxpayers before dying of natural causes.
  • California city of Atwater avoids bankruptcy by the skin of its teeth. Naturally, public employee unions are saying that now is the time to get raises…
  • Speaking of unions, even they are having problems with ObamaCare.
  • United Farm Workers picket United Farm Workers. No, that’s not a typo.
  • Texas vs. California Update for Feburay 7, 2013

    Thursday, February 7th, 2013

    No sooner did I post yesterday’s California vs. Texas update than all manner of related news pours forth.

    First, I missed the news that John Stossel did a story on Texas vs. California back in January. That link takes you to the whole thing (which i haven’t watched yet), but here’s a taste featuring ex-Californian and current Texas Public Policy Foundation vice president of policy Chuck DeVore:

    Naturally, the states media outlets are trying to downplay Texas’ advantage. Fortunately, here’s DeVore again debunking their claims good and hard. Read the whole thing.

    Earlier this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry went on the offensive with a radio ad in California suggesting businesses relocate here:

    Needless to say, California’s liberal establishment is perturbed.

    Brief Impressions of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 2013 Policy Orientation

    Monday, January 14th, 2013

    I enjoyed attending what little I could of the Texas Public Policy Foundation 2013 policy orientation held January 9-11. Here are a few quick and largely random impressions:

    Because I just started a new day job, I wasn’t able to attend until Thursday evening, which meant I got to enjoy Austin’s lovely rush-hour traffic on Mopac and only got to hear about half of Ted Cruz’s pre-recorded message. (Cruz was originally scheduled to appear with Sen. John Cornyn, but had to fly off to Afghanistan and Israel on a Senate Foreign Relations trip. Cruz also appeared at lunch that day, a session I was unable to attend.) Then it was time for Texas’ senior U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, to be interviewed.

    He defended the Fiscal Cliff deal as necessary to avoid a huge tax increase. He talked about the Senate’s inability to pass a budget. “Shame doesn’t work on Harry Reid.”

    On foreign and defense policy, he noted (correctly) that keeping the American people safe is the number one responsibility of government. Cornyn says he’s opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel and dinged Obama over Benghazi. “If the President and his Administration had been honest about Benghazi, they’re wouldn’t have been a scandal.” (Paraphrased.)

    Cornyn also displayed a certain tone-deafness in regard to his audience. When asked to mention possible 2016 GOP Presidential candidates, the first name Cornyn mentioned was NJ Governor Chris Christie, which drew audible groans and hisses from the audience, for good reason.

    After the Cornyn speech there was a blogger met-and-great at Rivals Steakhouse. I met a bevy of state Reps whose names quickly blurred together, as well as Ashley Sewell, AKA @TXTrendyChick, who I had already been following on Twitter, and a bunch of other bloggers. Most interesting bit of off-the-record gossip: Confirmation of my Rick Perry hopped-up on goofballs theory. “When I saw him running around Iowa in flats I knew he was in a lot of pain. The man practically sleeps in boots.”

    On Friday, I took a long lunch to attend the Newt Gingrich luncheon and signing. I sat one seat down from the indefatigable Holly Hansen (who has her own, far more extensive coverage), and @TXTrendyChick promptly plopped down between us. Obviously our table was the place to be.

    I get to hang out with all the cool chicks!

    Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was Gingrich’s warm-up speaker. Dewhurst has improved somewhat since his losing Senate race against Ted Cruz last year, but he’s still not a natural speaker. He tries to cram too many policy points into a speech, and isn’t skilled enough to distinguish between major and minor points. When it comes to conservative policy, he seems to know the words, but doesn’t hear the music.

    Dewhurst’s four points as to why Texas is doing better than any other state (1. We keep our spending low, 2. Keep our taxes low, 3. A light regulatory hand, and 4. Keep state government out of the way) were all very solid. He also promised additional budget cutting; let’s hope he follows through.

    Most interesting parts of Dewhurst’s speech: A clumsily-phrased plea for welfare reform (“I’m not going to pay people to sit on the couch and do drugs,” a proclamation that will no doubt disappoint many members of Occupy Wall Street), and a proposal to arm teachers in the classroom.

    Gingrich came on stage to a standing ovation. He said it was unfair for other states to compete with Texas, since we weren’t raising taxes and spending like California. (This is what people call “sarcasm.”)

    This was definitely Gingrich 2.0 (or maybe 8.6), an idea-a-minute futurist (I’d like to see him and Bruce Sterling bounce off each other for a couple of hours someday). He was saying things about America 2.0, ubiquitous diagnostic cell phones as a health care initiative, having the programmers behind World of Warcraft come up with ways to teach our kids, and puters mkn kdz wrt btr (I iz skptical). It was even more scatter-shot than Dewhurst, but seemed a lot more organic. And he had one truly fascinating factoid: Students taking Stanford’s online classes did better on tests than the ones taking classes in person.

    Gingrich seems genuinely optimistic about America’s future, which is a nice contrast with many of us after the 2012 election.

    After the speech I managed to get him to sign two books for me, To Renew America, and Jim Wright’s Reflections of a Public Man, which he was quite amused by.

    A few more luminaries:

    State Senator Larry Taylor

    State Rep Marsha Farney

    A very dapper Chuck DeVore. He wasn’t born in Texas, but he got here as quickly as he could.

    Hey girl, it’s Josh Trevino!

    Apologies to anyone I didn’t mention, didn’t run into, or didn’t get a picture of (some just didn’t come out well). It was a busy two days!

    And congratulations to TPPF honcho David Guenthner and his many minions, for all the hard work in carrying this off:

    In addition to the copy of Texas Got it Right handed out to everyone, David thrust a copy of DeVore’s The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State into my hands. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to say more about both in the not-so-distant future.

    Texas vs. California: First 2013 Roundup

    Friday, January 4th, 2013

    Judging from the Fiscal Cliff votes, the United States appears to be eager to follow in the footsteps of Greece and California, rushing to unsustainable spending, crushing debt loads and inevitable bankruptcy, rather than following the lead of Texas and the Red State model of debt-free limited government and free enterprise. So let’s see where the two states are, shall we?

  • Via Reason comes a link to the website Pension Tsunami, which contains much of interest for those charting California’s decline.
  • One method California cities are using to continue funding their heroin outrageous pension spending habit is issuing Pension Obligation Bonds, where they sell bonds to pay for pension obligations and then invest them. Indeed, some that got burned by the tactic in the 1990s (like Oakland) are trying again. “Bonds issued in 1997 were, on average, underwater in 2007, even before the stock market crash…’That’s like a compulsive gambler telling you that he has to bet it all on red to make up for his past losses.’”
  • Bankruptcy is the best bet most cities have for getting out of their crushing health and retirement obligations to public workers….Government employee compensation, mostly for health and retirement, is at the heart of nearly all the current and looming municipal bankruptcies across the country.”
  • Federal judge to Calpers: No, you can’t rewrite bankruptcy laws to save outrageous union pensions. Not yours.
  • California: Pensions or Police? Pick one.
  • Stockton attempts to pull a Chrysler, attempting to screw its bondholders in a bid to leave outrageous union pensions untouched.
  • While California wonders how to fill it’s perpetual budget shortfall, Texas debates what to do with its surplus.
  • Over at TPPF, Chuck Devore wonders why Californians don’t stage a tax revolt. “In the meantime, Texas will be more than happy to receive into its welcoming arms people who want to work hard, invest, and create jobs.”
  • Want a glimpse of California’s future? Spain is running out of pension fund to raid.
  • Texas vs. California Roundup: October 2, 2012

    Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup. First up: The man who moved from one to the other:

  • Chuck DeVore examines the differences between California and Texas. Scariest takeaway? “With one-eighth of the nation’s population, California has one-third of America’s welfare recipients.”
  • A review of the book Crazifornia. Pay special attention to the California bridge tester who couldn’t test bridges because he was up on child sex crime charges.
  • More on how California has underestimated their debt obligations. By an order of magnitude.
  • City College of San Francisco is perilously close to bankruptcy, in part because it employs nearly twice as many faculty as similar colleges and pays them better – yet educates no more students on average, says a new financial analysis of the state’s largest public school. The college got into trouble because, unlike other colleges, it failed to make the budget cuts necessary to keep up with reductions in state funding, never set aside money for its growing retirement obligations, and ‘has provided salary increases and generous benefits with no discernible means to pay for them.'” So it’s like the State of California in miniature. Bonus: Its current budge assumes the passage of Proposition 30.
  • And speaking of propositions, Prop 37, requiring the labeling of genetically modified food, will be a windfall for trial lawyers.
  • Atwater is the latest California town having layoffs and considering bankruptcy.
  • The city manager of Stockton explains why the city had to declare bankruptcy. It’s filled with special pleading for vested union interests: “Nor can we leave the CalPERS state pension system. CalPERS should be reformed, but if Stockton didn’t offer an industry-standard pension plan, we simply would not be able to staff an already challenged police department. It is unrealistic for creditors to posit that Stockton reject existing pension obligations.” Attention anyone thinking of buying California bonds: When it comes to paying you or paying union cronies, you’re going to get the short end of the stick, no matter what the law says.
  • What other California cities could declare bankruptcy? How about San Diego and Los Angeles?
  • More signs the Texas economy is outpacing the rest of the nation.
  • Texas bonds are outperforming the rest of the nation.
  • Texas adds more construction jobs than any other state.
  • Texas cuts crime more than the rest of the nation.
  • (Hat tip: Willisms, City Journal, others.)

    TPPF Conference Call on the ObamaCare Decision

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012

    Just got off a Texas Public Policy Foundation conference call with Chuck DeVore and Arlene Wohlgemuth on the effects of the Supreme Court ObamaCare decision. Just in case you hadn’t read anything on the Internet today, that ruling was 5-4 affirming ObamaCare as constitutional, majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, not on Commerce Clause grounds, but on congress’ ability to tax:

    The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.

    Here some no-doubt random bits of information I gleaned from the conference call:

  • Of all the possible scenarios experts looked at in a possible ObamaCare ruling, this wasn’t one of them.
  • All the cost drivers and massive increase in bureaucracy is still there.
  • Texas was already looking at a $5 billion Medicaid shortfall for the next biennium; ObamaCare will likely make that a $15 shortfall.
  • No one knows if Texas will undertake Medicaid expansion or not.
  • ObamaCare was a consequence of Republican losses in 2006 and 2008, and a cause of Republican victories in 2010.
  • As a tax, ObamaCare can be repealed with 51 Senate votes (no filibuster).
  • Roberts’ decision “built a fence” around the Commerce Clause, possibly preventing further expansion of federal powers under that guise. (This has lead to some observers to suggest that Roberts is playing the “long game” of constraining the growth of the federal government.)
  • The court did invalidate (7-2) Medicare/Medicaid penalties for non-compliance, in that states cannot be “dragooned” into post-facto changes with the threat of withdrawn funding for established programs. DeVore: “This is a victory for the 10th Amendment and Federalism.”
  • That change might offer challenges to a whole lot of legislation.
  • The politicized way in which the Obama Administration has granted waivers to the politically connected might also offer avenues for equal protection challenges.
  • This TPPF policycast also covers some of the same topics discussed on the conference call.

    So: That’s my brief recap of the conference call. I’m still digesting the ruling itself, and reactions to the ruling. I might be doing that for some time…