Pedestrians crossing Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Photo: Sean Pavone, Shutterstock)
OPINION: Back in 2012, then Treasurer Bill Lockyer called for an early warning system that would give state officials time to proactively address local government fiscal emergencies before they wound up in bankruptcy court. We are now five years closer to the next recession and its attendant set of local government financial crises, but the state has made little progress toward implementing Lockyer’s proposed system.
The rapidly growing cost of state worker retiree health care, a more generous benefit than received by active state workers, soon could be taking a bigger bite out of the state general fund than pensions. As if trading places, a new forecast expects the annual general fund payment for state worker retiree health care, now $500 million less than the payment for pensions, to be $500 million more than the pension payment in six years.