California faces another round of government-issued IOUs this spring if the governor and Legislature don't act speedily
to resolve the state's deficit, says Treasurer Bill
Lockyer. By the way, what's the controller's take on all this,
since he's the one who actually issues IOUs?
The LAT's Shane Goldmacher has the story: "The severity of California’s yawning budget gap,
estimated at $25.4 billion, is widely known. But Lockyer’s comments, at a
conference at UC Berkeley, were the first to suggest
that the state government
is staring at a more immediate cash crisis that could
"The state last issued billions of dollars in the
worthless scrip in 2009, causing a cascade of headlines around the world about
the California’s fiscal dysfunction. Lockyer, a Democrat, offered a clear prescription to
avoid repeating that fiscal calamity: "Get a budget adopted that's honest,
and make the cuts as soon as possible."
More than half of California employers have plans to
hire this year -- yet another indication that the economy is on the
mend, however slowly. The Bee's Darrell Smith has the
"In all, 54 percent of California respondents planned to
hire new employees, with 46 percent planning to hire in the spring quarter. About 40 percent of respondents nationally said they
planned to add staff, most during the first half of
the year, according to the
"More than six in 10 California businesses said they
expect to increase pay this year, while 54 percent said they planned to keep
401(k) retirement matching contributions in place in 2011."
At least some Republicans say there won't be support for taxes unless the public pension
system gets overhauled, reports the Contra Costa Times' Steve Harmon.
"Soaring pension liabilities -- at $6 billion a year and
as much as $700 billion in future years -- have become a central issue for
voters, many of whom see it as a primary reason the
state is in decline.
Brown's own pollster, Jim Moore, documented the depth
of frustration over
pension costs that crosses party lines in a poll of
1,000 likely voters late
"Public employee pensions are a very serious issue
percent of those polled, with another 23 percent saying it's somewhat serious."
Public-employee pensions have become the whipping boy of Republicans,
who are exploiting it a political issue, often at the
expense of the facts.
From CalPensions' Ed Mendel: "Despite the attempt to set the stage for a discussion
about retirement for everyone, most of the 90-minute panel was about how public
employee wages and pensions are being wrongly blamed
for state budget
"The panel began with a Jan. 1 segment of the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC that said
public employees are the GOP scapegoat for a deep economic
recession caused by
the misdoings of Wall Street and bankers, leading to
the housing bubble."
The pensions-and-salaries scandals in the city of Bell have prompted
another wave of reformist legislation, after an earlier round failed to emerge from the
Legislature's last session. The LA Times' Patrick McGreevy
has the story.
"The fresh round of
Bell-inspired bills comes after lawmakers failed to pass
similar measures in
the final days of last year's legislative session.
The current proposals may
have better odds because lawmakers will have more time
to vet them in committee
and refine them over several months. Each of the measures
seeks to change state
law to prevent the kinds of pay and pension abuses
seen in Bell."
"Bills that have been introduced would make it harder
city council members to cash in by serving on multiple
toughen ethics training mandates and require city administrators
each year to
publicly disclose their salaries, car allowances, bonuses
compensation payments. Other planned measures would seek to block pension
Worthy reads: Hunters at risk from marijuana growers, reports Loretta
Kalb ... Politico: Jerry Brown rolling the dice on state budget (no duh) .... The wrap of the conference at Berkeley on the 2010 governor's race, from Roberts and Trounstine...
And finally we turn to our "Hot Wheels" file to learn about the Santa Monica shopping mall
where nobody forgets where they parked their car, thanks
to the wonders of high tech. Of course, there are a
few privacy concerns.
Monica Place recently unveiled the nation's first camera-based "Find Your
Car" system. Shoppers who have lost track of their
vehicle amid a maze of
concrete ramps and angled stripes can simply punch
their license plate number
into a kiosk touch screen, which then displays a photo
of the car and its
"In Sacramento, the Police Department and Arden Fair
Mall partnered to install
license plate readers on mall security vehicles. The
vehicles roam parking lots
and garages in search of "hot list" vehicles provided
by the state
Department of Justice. If a car with a "hot" plate
is spotted, mall
security guards view closed-circuit TV footage to locate the vehicle's driver
and alert police."
"To date, the scans have helped police recover 44 stolen vehicles and arrest 38
individuals, according to mall security manager Steve Reed."
I wonder if they could find my 1980 Scirocco?....