Tag archive for Orange County

Moorlach takes stock: looking back on two decades of fiscal reform

John Moorlach owes it all to Half Dome.
The outgoing Orange County Supervisor, who has spent the past two decades reforming his county’s finances, might’ve been just some CPA with a habit of kvetching about politics.
“I went on a hike in Yosemite Valley with a friend, …

Cheaper pensions: How the math works for employees

In my Wall St. Journal piece this weekend I discussed how the IRS is holding up municipalities’ efforts to move workers into new, less expensive pension systems, even when employees via their union agree they’d like to make the move. I spent most of the piece on the IRS issues, but it’s worth exploring why places like San Jose and Orange County think that some workers might voluntarily agree to take less in pensions promises. Let’s look at some math…

Does the average Orange County firefighter make $234,000 per year? No. And that’s the bad news.

UnionWatch.org reports that the average firefighter in Orange County, California pulls in total pay and benefits of $234,000 per year, making them among the best-paid public employees – and, for that matter, among the best-paid of any kind of employees – in the country. But …

Robert Citron, 1925-2013

Robert Citron, the former Treasurer of Orange County, CA, recently passed on. Citron was the figure centrally responsible for Orange County’s bankruptcy in 1994, the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history until Jefferson County, AL in 2011.
That one man could be centrally responsible for a municipal …

Jerry Brown ready to sign cynical pension reform

Beyond having a modest pension reform measure on his campaign Web site, California Gov. Jerry Brown has done precious little to push for actual pension reform. Then, all of a sudden at the end of the legislative session, Brown announced major pension reform with Democratic legislators. The reform was even weaker than the Brown plan, in that it skipped the hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution Brown called for. The reason for the sudden embrace of reform — polling showed that the governor’s Prop. 30 tax increase on the November ballot was in troubled. He needed to show voters that he was serious about governmentmental reform and this was what the Democrats came up with — just enough to show progress, but not enough to really anger the unions. They were angry any way, but that just added to the show

Don’t forget to reform police and fire pensions

Had Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker been recalled from office, pension and other public employee reforms would be a dead letter throughout the country. But this union bit of muscle-flexing backfired, and it seems clear that the pendulum is swinging hard in the reform direction. But it’s still worth picking nits. Most likely for political reasons, Walker exempted police and other public safety workers from his reforms, even though police, fire and prison guard unions are the most out of control and their members receive the most lush benefits. Here’s a recent column I wrote arguing that reform must include these categories. I argue

Unions don’t fare well in California elections

The big news is Wisconsin, with Gov. Scott Walker handily beating back a recall challenge and GOP senators/recall targets were headed toward victory, but the California news was good, also. In San Jose, the most far-reaching pension-reform measure in the state was winning with 71 percent of the vote. A pro-reform council member, Rose Herrera, was in the lead to keep her seat

Local GOP lines up behind pension-hiker

In Orange County, the local Republican Party chairman, Scott Baugh, is headlining a fund-raiser for a supervisorial candidate, Todd Spitzer — a former Assemblyman, prosecutor and previous board of supervisors member. This is significant because Spitzer, a close ally of the public safety unions, let the charge in 2001 for a retroactive pension increase that dramatically boosted the county’s unfunded pension liability

Sky didn’t fall, but pols went back to spending

There’s much disagreement among fiscal conservatives on the usefulness of municipal bankruptcy in helping cities and counties get out from under the crushing public employee compensation burdens they’ve placed on themselves over the past decade or so. Vallejo emerged from bankruptcy without abrogating pension deals, but nevertheless unions are fearful that a wave of municipal bankruptcies could harm their pay and benefit packages. Whatever one’s views,

Sacramento deficits driven by public employees’ failure to contribute to pensions

Last week in this space I highlighted a story out of Orange County, California that revealed that local governments had spent nearly $2 billion in 2010 paying the employee portion of public pensions. According to a report in today’s Sacramento Bee, this malign trend isn’t just limited to Southern California. In California’s capitol city, more than 100 public workers face job losses if the government workforce doesn’t start picking up the slack on pension contributions (42 police officers — who contribute nothing to their pensions — were already let go last year). The numbers are staggering:

[City Manager John] Shirey told the City Council on Tuesday night that half the city’s budget deficit over the next two years could be eliminated if all city workers paid the employee share of their CalPERS retirement contributions.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/12/4181841/sacramento-looks-to-cut-its-payment.h