Posts Tagged: cost
A cigarette smoker enjoying his habit. (Photo: Pe3k, via Shutterstock)
An initiative aimed at next year’s ballot to more than triple the tax on California cigarettes would raise at least $1.3 billion annually, with the money going to an array of health and other programs, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser. The Legislative Analyst’s Office reported Monday that the proposal to add $2 in taxes to a pack of cigarettes would increase the per-pack taxes to $2.87.
The CalPERS' governing board during a meeting several years ago at the pension fund's headquarters. (Photo: CalPERS board)
After a loss of $100 billion in the recent recession, the CalPERS funding level dropped from 100 percent in 2007 to 61 percent in 2009. It has not recovered, despite a major bull market in which the S&P 500 index of large stocks tripled. “Even with the dramatic returns we have seen over the past six years, because the demographics of plans in general have changed and plans are now by and large cash-flow negative, it’s been very challenging to dig out of that hole,” Andrew Junkin, a Wilshire consultant, told the CalPERS board last week.
Also known as the Health for All Act, the legislation aims to provide access to health care coverage to undocumented individuals who are not covered under the Affordable Care Act. SB 4 would expand Medi-Cal to low-income undocumented individuals and create a private insurance exchange option for those with higher incomes.
Boats cluster together at drought-ravaged Shasta Lake. (Photo: David Greitzer).
People across California pay dramatically different amounts for the same amount of water, with price tags set by individual agencies from Crescent City to El Centro. North or south, inland or coastal, what Californians pay for their water is locally driven. Ultimately, retail water’s value is determined in a way similar to real estate – location, location, location.
A homeless man in a wheelchair wiping his eyes at a pier in Oceanside, Calif. (Photo: David Little via Shutterstock)
We are moving into the post-industrial age, an era of mechanized production, where machines can increasingly do jobs that used to pay real people livable wages. In California, we have strong environmental and labor regulations that did not exist at the birth of the industrial age. These rules have improved and saved lives of workers and the communities where manufacturing plants are based. But they have also driven costs of manufacturing higher.
For the new plan the state this fiscal year is paying $63.2 million (24.6 percent of pay) for the pensions of 1,407 judges (1,352 active). Judges Retirement System II is 95 percent funded with a debt or “unfunded liability” of $41.2 million.
Richard M. Allen, director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, points out the American Canyon Quake. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)
California is known as much for earthquakes as it is Hollywood or surfers, but relatively few homeowners have bothered to buy earthquake insurance. A little better than one in every 10 residential properties is covered throughout California. In Napa, where Sunday’s 6.0 magnitude quake caused an estimated $1 billion in damage, the coverage level is even lower than that – perhaps 5 percent, according to the California Earthquake Authority
U.S. Senate election, 2012
In little more than a decade, mail-in or “absentee” voting for statewide elections quadrupled, from 4.4 percent in 1978 to 18.4 percent in 1990, reflecting in part legal changes making it easier to vote absentee. Since the 1990s, mail-in ballots have increased exponentially. In the 2008 primary, 58 percent of the voters cast mail-in ballots, the first time in a California statewide election that mail-in ballots represented more than half the vote. In primaries since then, mail-in voting has risen steadily to a remarkable 65 percent in 2012. In the November 2012 general election, mail-in ballots accounted for about 51 percent. (Above: 2012 U.S. Senate election map/Kurykh, Wikimedia))
But a series of state court rulings are widely believed to mean that the pension offered current workers on the date of hire becomes a vested right, protected by contract law, that can only be cut if offset by a new benefit of comparable value. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas said in her ruling the question before her court is “one of law, not of policy,” referring to a state Supreme Court response to city and county briefs on an Orange County attempt to cut retirement costs.
Many large employers in California were scheduled for massive greenhouse gas (GHG) “cap-and-trade” cost increases starting in 2015. Now state regulators propose to delay any increase until 2018 at the earliest. This is good news for manufacturers and thousands of California workers with high wage manufacturing jobs. Food processors, consumer products firms, aerospace, chemical and