Reformers have for years been trying to force Brown to deal with an actual wall that has been built around California over the past few decades — the wall of debt. Unfunded pension and retiree health-care liabilities in particular make a mockery of the notion that California is operating with a “surplus.” The latest estimates put those unfunded liabilities at more than $220 billion. Those already onerous liabilities will soar higher still if the stock market doesn’t meet the pension funds’ rosy predictions.This is all going to end very,very badly.
It’s nice that Brown has pension issues on his mind. Someone should. Legislative leaders have no interest in wrestling with those numbers. They are too eager to spend the imaginary surplus. Brown, however, has mostly been talk on the matter.
Earlier in his administration, Brown proposed a surprisingly solid reform plan that largely echoed Republican concerns. But he used no political capital to advance it, and ultimately signed the modest Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act. It passed during the state’s budget crisis, mainly as a way to convince voters the state is so serious about reform they could go ahead and trust it with higher sales- and income-tax rates.
Friday, March 18, 2016
California Already Is Building a Wall — of Debt
Well, this might work just a well as a physical wall!