This is Part 1 of a series of stories about tax increases passed throughout California in the November 5 elections. Originally posted at Cal Watchdog. By Adam O’Neal. Earlier this month, local governments throughout California passed more than two dozen […]
Advocates for cash-strapped municipalities want Washington to clean up their mess. Detroit’s July bankruptcy filing, prompted in part by its huge worker-retirement debts, has led to calls for a federal bailout of the beleaguered city—and also, by extension, of retirement […]
When a city is bankrupt, judges have a big say in whose bills will be paid. For now, all eyes are on Detroit and San Bernardino, Calif. Originally posted at GOVERNING. By Frank Shafroth. Two battles over public money promises […]
Former City Councilman Marcelo Co has been at the center of a number of scandals plaguing the East Riverside County community of Moreno Valley. On Tuesday, authorities reported that Co has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge […]
Originally posted at Cal Watchdog.
By Dave Roberts.
There have been a number of efforts to increase the tax on sugary beverages in California in recent years, with little to show for it so far. But the next battle in the soda tax war, in San Francisco next November, could make or break the sour-on-sugar movement.
Proponents argue that increasing the tax on sodas by one or two cents per ounce will prevent obesity, thereby saving millions of people from diseases like diabetes, and the government millions of dollars in health costs. Opponents consider it a Nanny State tax grab that will do nothing except transfer more money from the people to the government.[...]
Originally posted at Public Sector Inc.
By Steve Malanga.
A recent story in the New York Times noted that Stockton was exiting bankruptcy and returning to solvency but without addressing its crushing pensions debt. What exactly does that mean in terms of the city’s budget? The Times story doesn’t quite say, but it’s easy enough to see from Stockton’s budget documents.
Pension debt has remained prominent on Stockton’s balance sheet. In 2009, before the city declared a fiscal emergency, it spent $27.9 million paying Calpers, the California retirement system, and another $6.9 million on pension obligation debt. Since then those Calpers payments have risen to $33 million in fiscal 2012, while the debt service on the bonds increased to $7.2 million. Pension spending rose from 21 percent payroll to 31 percent for public safety workers, and from 13 percent to 17 percent for everyone else.(click chart at right to expand)[...]
Originally posted at CA Fwd.
By Cheryl Getuiza.
Tis the season of giving and one Fresno County Supervisor has taken that statement to heart. After a surprise pay raise, Supervisor Andreas Borgeas has decided contribute said pay raise to the county.
“The pay raise caught me off guard when I heard about it,” said Supervisor Andreas Borgeas. “It’s pretty disturbing for a number of reasons.”
You see, Fresno County Supervisors’ pay checks are tied to Superior Court Judges. So, if a decision is made, in Sacramento, to give those judges a bump in pay, it happens automatically for those on the local county level.[...]
Originally posted at Voice of San Diego.
By Liam Dillon.
Monday’s long-awaited discussion on San Diego’s illogical sidewalk rules ended with a promise for another long wait.
Council members on the city’s infrastructure committee pledged to deal with the policy once a team of engineering students finishes walking San Diego’s 5,000 miles of sidewalks to evaluate their condition. Currently, the sidewalk rules give neither the city nor property owners incentive to fix busted sidewalks.[...]
Originally posted at Capitol Weekly.
By Samantha Gallegos.
Property theft in California increased in the first year of correctional realignment, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California highlighting the policy’s possible effect on future crime rates.[...]
Originally posted at Public Sector Inc.
By Steve Eide.
Significant, but perhaps less so than developments in Illinois and California. Nothing that happens in federal bankruptcy court can change the fact that pension reform is mostly a matter of state law.[...]
By Dean Baker, Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Cutting pension benefits amounts to taking away pay from workers after they already put in their work. If governments feel the need to take property, they should look for wealthy victims. But, of course, the Wall Street folks who bear much of the blame for the problem seem likely to get away unscathed.
Governments aren’t seizing properties sold too cheaply or reclaiming tax breaks to arenas and businesses. Why take back workers’ money?
Los Angeles Needs Higher Voter Turnout, But Some Reform Ideas Have Holes
Originally posted at Zócalo Public Square.
By Howard Cohen.
Until a change in the city charter 20 years ago, voters in some parts of Los Angeles were able to take stubs from their ballot, present them to local independent doughnut shops and receive a free dozen doughnuts, paid for by local Democrats.[...]
Originally posted at CalPensions.
By Ed Mendel.
Following the city charter, a reluctant San Bernardino city council last week approved a police pay raise costing about $1 million, the second $1 million police salary increase since the city filed for bankruptcy last year.
The four council members who voted for the 3 percent pay hike all criticized a city charter provision linking San Bernardino to the average police pay in 10 other cities, most much wealthier with higher per-capita income.
When a pay hike was approved last March, the city attorney, James Penman, and a councilman, Robert Jenkins, argued competitive pay attracts quality officers to combat a high crime rate. Penman was recalled last month, and Jenkins was not re-elected.[...]
Originally posted at The Liberal OC.
By Chris Prevatt.
The Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek is probably the most despised, by Council members, reporters covering the Santa Ana political beat. He’s been uncovering and reporting on the dirty underbelly of political intrigue that lies just out of public view. In his latest report, Elmahrek has revealed that recent allegations of secret and unreported political contributions by a developer, Vineyards Development Corp., to the effort by former Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez to seek a fourth term on the Santa Ana City Council.