CA's 2013-14 May revised budget presents an uncertain and cautious fiscal outlook for California. It acknowledges some of the major structural challenges facing the state today and in coming years – rising health costs, unfunded pension and retiree healthcare liabilities. However, the budget largely stops at acknowledging these issues and presents no plans of action for addressing them.
Analysis of the city of Los Angeles’s pension system – the growth of the city’s pension expenses, the causes of the growth, and the challenges the city faces in handling their pension problems. The city faces year-after-year deficits, and its leaders have raised concerns about the city’s financial difficulties as observers have warned of potential bankruptcy.
Rising healthcare costs for retired public employees is an emerging problem state and local governments face nationwide. In 2008, California spent $1.3 billion on retiree healthcare and will spend an estimated $1.8 billion in 2013, amounting to average annual growth of 7.7%. This 45% overall growth came at a time when total state spending grew by only 3%. Click "Learn More" to see the video.
On January 10, 2013, Governor Brown presented a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year, which will begin on July 1. No proposed budget had purported to be balanced since Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2007-08 budget, which he presented in January 2007. Since 2007-08, some budget areas have fared much better than others, and some much worse.
California’s education finance system has evolved in often unpredictable ways over the last half-century. This piece briefly explains how financial responsibility for the K-12 system has shifted from local governments to the state and how this shift has been at the root of many of California’s greatest educational challenges.
The budget process relies heavily on the Department of Finance's (DOF) series of budget projections for the coming year, shaping the Governor’s budget and framing the larger debate surrounding it. Therefore, when inaccurate projections shape the budget, the discourse surrounding it becomes farther removed from reality.
This report examines the $220 million in independent expenditures spent on candidate races in California between 2000 and late May 2012, focusing on the 106 organizations and committees that spent all but $25 million of it. We dissected the races that attracted the most money, the groups who spent it, and their donors.
Our voter guide for the November 2012 ballot focuses on the propositions that will have major fiscal and structural impacts on the state: Propositions 30, 31, 32, 36, 38, and 39. The guide adds depth and context to the issues. It includes original summaries, details, and analysis of each proposition; relevant secondary research; and substantive arguments for and against.
While several factors are responsible for the 1327% increase in CDCR’s budget in just three decades, the state inmate population has been a key driver, expanding rapidly since 1980 and spurring a prison overcrowding crisis in California. Facing a 2013 court-mandated deadline, the State has worked to redistribute its overall prison population among state prisons and county jails.
NBC Bay Area News featured this original research from CACS. Among discretionary spending, two major areas have experienced very different treatment, particularly during recessions. As state support for higher education has lagged over the years, spending on state prisons has soared. To read the report and see the video, click "Learn More" below.
Together, California’s 20 largest cities (by budget) currently have already promised $16 billion in non-pension benefits to their current and future retirees, and $12 billion of that remains unfunded. These non-pension benefits, or Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEBs), largely consist of retiree health care.
Over the last decade, state funding for the UCs has dropped from 27% to 11% of the UCs budget. Because total costs have not decreased, more money is coming from tuition and medical schools. Additionally, the UCs now spend more on administrator salaries and new construction, but spend proportionally less on professors' salaries. Click "Learn More" to access the full report and summary.
Much attention, in both policy research and broader political circles, has been paid to California’s statewide pensions systems. But virtually no systematic analysis of the state’s independent pension plans has been performed, though they collectively hold more than $150 billion in assets. Click "Learn More" to access the full report and executive summary.
In February 2012, Stockton, California voted to enter bankruptcy mediation. Stockton is one of California’s 20 largest cities, and its bankruptcy would be the nation’s largest in history. Its story highlights the pressures on local governments in the aftermath of the 2007 recession and the looming threat of further bankruptcies. Click "Learn More" to access the full report and summary.
In 2008, the citizens of California voted to authorize the state government to borrow $9.95 billion in order to build California’s first high-speed rail system (CA HSR). In this article, we explain how the State – under the auspices of the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) employing project management firm Parsons Brinckerhoff – has strayed from this original plan.
- What is CACS?
- May Budget Overview
- L.A. Pensions
- Retiree Health 2013
- Op-Ed: Revenue Est.
- Budget Case Study
- K-12 Finance
- Revenue Projections
- Proposition Spending
- Indep. Expenditures
- 2012 Voter Guide
- Prison Realignment
- Corrections & Higher Ed
- CACS on Huffington Post
- State Retiree Health Care
- Local Retiree Benefits
- UC Management Growth
- CA Pension Systems
- Stockton's Bankruptcy
- High-Speed Rail
- Pension Timeline