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Gas-tax repeal gets closer to vote as train spotlights state’s misplaced priorities

Gas-tax repeal gets closer to vote as train spotlights state’s misplaced priorities

    By Steven Greenhut Sacramento: Almost everyone agrees that California’s infrastructure is shockingly decrepit, yet public anger over a 12-cent-a-gallon gas tax to address that problem has not subsided. Although an effort by GOP gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen to repeal the tax never got traction, a separate effort led by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, former San […]

Gov. Brown’s budget sets spending records, but warns of recession

Gov. Brown’s budget sets spending records, but warns of recession

by Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown’s annual budgets have become familiar affairs. During his last two terms in office, Brown routinely offered a budget plan that broke spending records, but also was designed to limit the creation of new programs while girding against the possibility of another recession. The governor’s budget release from last Thursday was […]

California pension funds pushed by politicians to divest from gun industry

California pension funds pushed by politicians to divest from gun industry

By Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO – California’s two major pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), control more than $500 billion in total assets, making them two of Wall Street’s most influential investors. They also are government entities, and some California leaders want to use their investment […]

In good times and in bad, California’s pension fund managers win fat bonuses

In good times and in bad, California’s pension fund managers win fat bonuses

  By Steven Greenhut Sacramento —California’s top pension funds have suffered through a few cycles of bleak investment returns and plummeting funding ratios, so we can’t blame them for wanting to celebrate after what was, relatively speaking, a stellar financial year. But the manner in which they chose to celebrate was shocking. The funds gave […]

Gavin Newsom announces new plan calling for housing boom

Gavin Newsom announces new plan calling for housing boom

by Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO – If the past is any guide, California’s Legislature will declare its recently passed housing-affordability package a success and move on to the many other priorities that dominate Capitol discussions once lawmakers return in January. But the housing package – a spate of measures that increase funding for subsidized housing programs and reduce regulations for building […]

Gov. Brown vetoes few bills – latest ones get conservative praise

Gov. Brown vetoes few bills – latest ones get conservative praise

by Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO – California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed only 118 of the 957 bills that came before his desk in the recently concluded legislative session, but some of his final vetoes earned a great deal of attention and praise – even from conservative Republicans. That’s an interesting turn of events given that Brown signed into lawmost of […]

End of session defined by higher taxes, anti-Trump and union priorities

End of session defined by higher taxes, anti-Trump and union priorities

by Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO – California’s legislative session, which completed its work in the wee hours Saturday morning, was one of the more controversial ones in years, given the degree to which the Democratic majority was able to secure various tax and fee increases. It was also one of the more divisive recent sessions from a partisan […]

CalPERS’ divestment goals in crosshairs as coal stocks soar

CalPERS’ divestment goals in crosshairs as coal stocks soar

by Steven Greenhut A newly released report from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System confirms that, fulfilling the Legislature’s directive to divest from coal-related investments, the pension fund has now largely exited from coal stocks. But as news reports this week suggest, this “socially responsible” investment policy has come at a price, as coal stocks soar under the […]

In policing and teaching, union rules protect workers at expense of public

In policing and teaching, union rules protect workers at expense of public

By Steven Greenhut America’s public school systems are notorious for their rubber rooms. That’s where teachers deemed unfit to work in a classroom pass the time as their disciplinary actions or terminations move through the convoluted system. This can take years, and while it does, the teachers collect their full paychecks as they twiddle their thumbs. It’s […]

Union bill will drive up counties’ costs of providing services

Union bill will drive up counties’ costs of providing services

. By Steven Greenhut Sacramento – Municipal governments exist to provide essential services, such as law enforcement, firefighting, parks and recreation, street repairs and programs for the poor and homeless. But as pension, health-care and other compensation costs soar for workers and retirees alike, local governments are struggling to fulfill these basic functions. There’s even a term […]

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