Posts Tagged: finance

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Electricity meltdowns: Texas can learn from SMUD, California

Headquarters of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. (Photo: Headquarters of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, (Photo: Cassionhabib, via Shutterstock)

In February, Texas experienced a freak weather event, a deep freeze that shut down its electrical  system, damaged its infrastructure and cost dozens of lives. The storm revealed the lack of preparation and investment by the Texas state government, the flaws of its system of deregulated privately-owned utilities, and the failures of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.  The latter is responsible for maintaining the state’s energy infrastructure.

News

By the numbers: A look at the 2017-18 Legislature

The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Rigucci, via Shutterstock)

With the recently concluded 2017-18 legislative session, it is valuable to look at some of the key data, including bill introductions, the fate of those bills, the work of the committees, the lawmakers’ legislation and the actions of the governor. So let’s crunch some numbers: We’ll look at the Senate first.

News

Inside the Capitol — procedurally

The California State Senate in Sacramento. (Photo: Trekandshoot, via Shutterstock)

This is the fourth in a series of detailed articles about the inner workings of the state Capitol relating to structure, rules and procedures — including a look at vetoes and the budget.

News

Campaign cash: A journey through the Cal-Access labyrinth

Photo illustration, political cash on the move: IQoncept, via Shutterstock

When California introduced its Cal-Access campaign finance website, “There was nothing like it in the country,” said Rob Lapsley, who was under-Secretary of State in 2000, the year the campaign disclosure tool made its debut. Fast forward 15 years: What was once cutting edge is now obsolete. “The current system is broken, literally.”

News

Brown: State workers should pay more for retiree health care

Gov. Brown unveils his 2015-16 budget draft in the Capitol. (Photo: State of California)

Gov. Brown wants state workers to begin paying half the cost of their future retiree health care — a big change for workers making no payments for coverage that can pay 100 percent of the premium for a retiree and 90 percent for their dependents. The governor also wants state workers to be given the option of a lower-cost health insurance plan with higher deductibles.

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Legislative legacy: Big bucks for retirees’ health care

Cannery Row workers of the 1950s depicted in an artistic cutout. (Photo: Mr. Interior/Shutterstock)

The debt or “unfunded liability” state Controller John Chiang reported last week for state worker retiree health care, $72 billion, is larger than the unfunded liability for state worker pensions reported by CalPERS in April, $50 billion. It’s a legislative legacy, a debt for state worker services received by one generation that lawmakers decided to let the next generations inherit.

News

UC boots deadlines to disclose spending

Students at UC Berkeley walk for their diplomas during graduation ceremonies. (Photo: Richard Thornton)

Missing its own deadline last week, the University of California is now more than two months behind in disclosing to the state Legislature and the Department of Finance details of its expenses. The 10-campus university system first failed to meet an Oct. 1 deadline. It then submitted a seven-page preliminary account on Oct. 31 while requesting an additional six weeks to complete a final report. Those six weeks expired on Dec. 11.

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Comeback eyed for pieces of redevelopment

Two years after Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature dismantled California’s $5 billion-a-year redevelopment program, Brown wants to bring some elements back — but he’s offering less money, a different name and a change in local voters’ approval. The crux of Brown’s plan is to expand the reach of the rarely-used, little-known Infrastructure Finance Districts. The districts, or IFDs, have taxing authority and are created with voter approval. They function on property tax dollars and focus on highways, transit and sewer projects, libraries, parks and child care centers.

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LAO: Tax receipts show hefty surge

Preliminary data from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) indicate that December 2013 personal income tax (PIT) and corporation tax (CT) revenue collections were a combined $1.6 billion (20 percent) above monthly projections included in the state’s 2013-14 budget plan.

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State vs. Cerritos over redevelopment money

The city of Cerritos may be a trailblazer of sorts among local governments, but it’s leading the way on a trail that local governments probably don’t want to follow. The southern California community, which boasts a population just shy of 50,000 residents, is among the first of several city governments in California to go to the mat against the state controller’s review of its shift of local assets from the redevelopment agency.

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