Thursday, March 5, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Ignored issues undercut Legislature’s better image

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | June 18, 2014 |

Approval ratings of the California Legislature, as measured in periodic polling, were in the teens a few years ago but have since improved.

A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California says that 40 percent of all adults – but just 29 percent of likely voters – like the Legislature’s performance.

A couple of balanced budgets probably account for the Legislature’s better public standing. However, the next time you hear someone crow about what a bang-up job the Legislature is doing, consider these glaring shortcomings:

1. The state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund was weakened in the past decade when the Legislature sharply increased benefits without raising revenues to pay for them. So when recession hit, and more than a million jobs vanished, the UIF took a beating and the state began borrowing from the federal government, eventually running up a $10 billion tab.

Many other states also borrowed, but according to a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, most raised payroll taxes and/or reformed benefits to clear their debts and rebuild reserves.

Gov. Jerry Brown has sought action, but the Legislature has ignored him. Meanwhile, the state is paying hefty interest charges on the debt and the feds have raised payroll taxes on employers to nibble away at the principal.

2. The Legislature has ignored another, even larger hole in the State Teachers Retirement System.

It has a $70 billion-plus unfunded liability that grows by about $20 million a day and says it needs $4.5 billion more each year from someone to restore solvency.

As Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor points out, the STRS deficit is just a third of $200 billion in mounting debts that are being ignored, such as $60 billion-plus in unfunded state retiree health care costs.

Brown is now floating a plan to make STRS solvent, but it would take a big bite out of schools’ financing down the road, school officials don’t like it, and its chances are mediocre at best.

3. The federal government has exempted underwater mortgage balances that are written off by lenders from income taxes, and the state did it for one year, 2012.

However, legislation to extend the tax break became entangled in a political stalemate over another issue, and many Californians who had received mortgage relief were hit with big state tax bills.

A bill to belatedly erase those bills for 2013 seems to be moving after a months-long delay, but even if it makes it into law, it would compel affected taxpayers to file amended returns and seek refunds.

This is an issue of equity and sympathy for Californians who face tough times that could – and should – have been resolved months ago, but legislators stiffed them as they pursued other trivial business.

That folks, has been your Legislature in action – or, more accurately, inaction.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • rlw895June 18, 2014 - 6:21 am

    The answer is for the legislature to do what the governor wants. After getting the special tax passed, he's entitled to that for a while.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • HuckleberryJune 18, 2014 - 1:06 pm

    Brown proposed the tax and the Californias passed it and is paying for it so this entitles Brown. This is what you got out of this article. We are horribly in debt and Browns answer is the bullet train. Great.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Show resilience in the face of adversity

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Real McCoy II Ferry set for maintenance

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville police slate annual awards ceremony

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Limited damage to apartment from carport fire

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Students sample industry choices during school career fair

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
National Red Cross Month celebrates heroes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Il Fiorello schedules citrus class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Jury convicts ex-con who served as own lawyer

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Red Carpet Gala to benefit theater foundation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Pet remembrance event set in Vallejo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Friday concert benefits Families Helping Families

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Vallejo police arrest 4 in connection with 3 killings

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

 
Justices sharply divided over health care law subsidies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lawmaker pushes child care worker vaccinations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Children in Southern California breathing easier, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Failures by 3 governments preceded homeless man’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Second Los Angeles hospital reports ‘superbug’ infections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Obama signs Homeland Security funding bill into law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

House panel issues subpoena for Clinton’s personal emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
A defiant Alabama regains ground against gay marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Microsoft co-founder says he found sunken Japan WWII warship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Coal mine blast kills at least 24 in war-torn east Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

.

Living

Today in History: March 5, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 5, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 5, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I can’t tell if I still want to be married, or just don’t want to be alone

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ tops MTV Movie Awards nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Glen Campbell children fighting wife’s control of affairs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

DiCaprio partners with Netflix for series of documentaries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

 
Posey has 2-run double in Giants’ 9-2 loss to A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Local report: Vanden softball slips by Rodriguez with late run

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Curry shoots Warriors to 102-93 victory over Bucks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NCAA reports big jump in home runs with new flat-seam ball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLS, players agree in principle to 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecutors can’t bring up Florida shooting in ex-NFLer case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vikings agree to trade Cassel to Bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Scott opens a season of change at Doral

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘It WAS him': Defense admits Tsarnaev bombed Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
With Peterson’s status in question, Vikings pay a visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL stadium supporters in LA suburb file ballot paperwork

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Alex Johnson, AL batting champ in 1970, dies at age 72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodell: NFL responsible for Super Bowl seating problems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former player Nate Jackson calls for NFL to allow marijuana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Phoenix to install tire barriers before NASCAR visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pirelli sticks with same tire choices for first 4 F1 races

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Aaron D. Malave

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Cesar Luis Garcia-Regalado

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Rodolfo Landabora Porquez

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9