California Common Sense values government transparency and citizen engagement. The work below represent the work of our staff; however CACS does not endorse the opinions expressed by any team members. CACS makes data available so that everyone can participate in similar facts-based dialogue.
For California Pensions, Math is Already at Work
By Autumn Carter on May 10, 2013This op-ed appeared on Fox & Hounds Daily on May 10, 2013. Last week, in this forum, Lou Paulson argued that the pension debate in California should be more concerned with math and less with politics. I completely agree, which is why I was perplexed after reading his op-ed. Among other things, he argues that California’s state and local governments should not fully fund pension plans for their employees. When he actually uses math or data to justify his arguments, his conclusions are largely incorrect or misleading.
Viewpoints: California has options for securing retiree health benefits
By Adam Tatum on Apr 30, 2013This op-ed appeared in the April 30, 2013 edition of the Sacramento Bee. California Common Sense released a report this month showing a 45 percent increase in retiree health spending for state employees over the last five years, growth from $1.3 billion in 2008 to an estimated $1.8 billion in 2013. While funding for higher education, K-12, parks, courts, transportation and welfare have all suffered significant cuts, this part of the budget is rare for its consistent increase in funding. This is rapid growth for any budget area, especially when revenue grew only 4.5 percent over that same period.
Viewpoints: January Revenue Projections are Just the Opening Budget Act
By Autumn Carter on Jan 29, 2013The state's actual revenues usually diverge widely from its projections, and have grown increasingly over-optimistic in recent years.
CA Disclose Act a Nascent Step to Reform
By Mike Polyakov on Aug 27, 2012In the wake of the Citizens United decision two years ago, and as political expenditures break records, campaign finance reform has become an increasingly salient topic. The California Disclose Act, currently in the state Senate could help address the problem, though it is not without flaws.
Cities can stave off bankruptcies by pre-funding worker benefits
By Mike Polyakov on Aug 8, 2012Health care costs are growing at three times the rate of inflation nationally, and California's state employee non-pension benefit costs have doubled twice in the past decade. This increase makes it especially important for cities and the state to deal with the issue now, either by setting aside funds, or by adjusting contribution or benefits terms for new government employee hires.
Curtail management growth to slow UC tuition rise
By Mike Polyakov on Jun 10, 2012By relying too heavily on tuition increases in the short term, the UC is avoiding tightening its belt. The California Common Sense report on UC finances identifies two trends that may offer partial alternative responses to state budget cuts.
Viewpoints: Pension costs are crushing local governments
By Dakin Sloss on Feb 29, 2012Last week, Stanford's Institute for Economic Policy Research and California Common Sense released a report that confirmed what Californians have come to realize, yet many leaders still deny. From Stockton to San Diego, government pension costs are crushing local governments.
Stanford Group Works to Fix Government with Data
By Dakin Sloss on Aug 24, 2011California Common Sense has mapped the state government, visualized the state budget, found discrepancies in California correctional officer compensation, and is continuing to work to open government financial data to the public.