Posts Tagged: year

News

Drought, oil price decline pummel Kern

Pumpjacks in a Kern County oil field, November 2013. (Photo: Christopher Halloran)

Oil and water don’t mix, but in Kern County they’ve joined to create a double-whammy. Already confronting a drought of historic proportions, Kern County — the nation’s No. 2 agricultural county — also faces a severe financial hit because of falling oil prices. The county is home to more than two-thirds of California’s oil production.

News

Boxer’s exit puts SCN consultants at center stage

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, speaking to her grandson, announced Thursday on YouTube that she won't seek a fifth term. (Photo: Screen capture, YouTube)

Ready, set, run! A firestorm of political speculation erupted Thursday across California after U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer announced she wouldn’t seek a fifth term, a move that prompted a close look at California’s new open primary. Two top contenders — Attorney General Kamala Harris and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom — are represented by the same consultants, SCN. Things are getting interesting.

News

PUC chief to step down

A devastated zone in San Bruno following the 2010 gas pipeline explosion. (Photo: Brocken Inaglory)

Michael R. Peevey, the beleaguered president of the California Public Utilities Commission who has served under three governors, said Thursday he is stepping down at the end of the year. The move follows turmoil at the powerful regulatory agency that includes state and federal investigations amid complaints that the PUC has been too cozy with Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Opinion

Prop. 46: When health care kills

OPINION: We live in a nation where up to 440,000 patients die each year of preventable medical errors. It’s now the third leading cause of death, behind only cancer and heart disease. Any of us could become a victim of medical negligence. You could be harmed by a doctor impaired by drugs or alcohol. Your life could be ruined by a prescription drug addict strung out on too many drugs obtained by “doctor shopping.”

News

CalPERS, San Berdoo agree on pension-debt payoff

Bankrupt San Bernardino announced an agreement with CalPERS last week to pay off an unprecedented pension debt owed for skipping payments to the pension fund for a year — $13.5 million, plus several million more in penalties and interest. Details of the agreement reached in closed mediation were not released. But the city said in a court filing the CalPERS agreement “will help form the basis” for a debt-cutting plan needed to exit bankruptcy.

News

Brown budget eyes full funding for teachers’ pensions

Lobby of the CalSTRS building in West Sacramento. (Photo: Paul Houseberg)

Gov. Brown has made a long-delayed proposal to get CalSTRS to full funding over the next three decades, giving the biggest rate hike to schools and smaller increases to the state and teachers. The nation’s largest teacher pension fund, which received $5.8 billion from the three sources last fiscal year, needs an additional contribution of about $4.2 billion a year to project full funding in 30 years.

News

Oil severance tax at center stage

Pumpjacks in a Kern County oil field, November 2013. (Photo: Christopher Halloran)

It has been killed repeatedly in the state Legislature or at the ballot box, but the backers of an oil severance tax hope 2014 is the year to get it done, to the tune of $2 billion annually. But history is not on their side. Above: Pumpjacks in Kern County, November 2013. (Photo: Christopher Halloran)

News

Corporate tax receipts slide, despite profits

Gov. Schwarzenegger unveils budget, 2009

It’s a litany of good news in Gov. Jerry Brown’s election-year budget. Safety net programs are being shored up. Debt is being repaid. Revenues are rising.

Except for corporate taxes.

In fact, business tax receipts are falling at the same time hefty profits are being posted by major companies across the country. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

News

Budget details costs for immigrants’ licenses

Providing up to 1.4 million driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants will cost $65 million for the Department of Motor Vehicles during the first six months after the law takes effect January 1, 2015, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget plan. DMV plans five new temporary offices to handle the load.

News

Do water woes help 2014 bond?

But even as the rain clouds appear sparse, there may be a silver lining for the backers of a major ballot measure: Experts say the grim outlook could spur voters to approve a multibillion-dollar bond facing voters in November 2014. It could bring to reality the need to borrow money and resolve some of the state’s water issues. (Photo: Lower American River, USFWS)

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