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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« June 24, 2005 | | June 28, 2005 »
June 27, 2005

AARP on estate recovery efforts

The AARP has published a study of state policies regarding estate recovery, the practice of going after the money left to heirs by recipients of Medicaid, or Medi-Cal in California. No surprise that California is tops in the nation, recovering $54 million in the most recent year. But there's a lot of interesting stuff in the report on this controversial practice. You can find it here.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:01 PM

Florida pensions

I had a message on my voicemail this morning from an irate state employee who said I've been giving public pensions in California too harsh a critique. He suggested I look at Florida where, he said, the pensions make California's look puny. This story from Ft. Lauderdale, though, says Florida state employees typically retire with just under half their salary after 30 years on the job. That's considerably less than California's benefits. Does anybody out there have better info on the Sunshine State? Am I missing something?

UPDATE: This Florida state website (scroll down) seems to say that state employees get a pension at age 62 figured by multiplying their years of service times their salary times a factor of 1.6. That's a third or more less than California employees get.

UPDATE 2: A reader points out that the Florida system requires no contribution from the employee, while California workers typically contribute about 5 percent of their salaries toward retirement. That's a good point. Still, the state of Florida contributes only about 6 percent of payroll to this plan, while California is kicking in about 15 percent for its general workforce.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:08 PM


A new study by a professor at the University of Missouri says increases in voter turnout do not change election results. The preferences of non-voters, his study shows, tend to break down pretty much the way voters do, with the caveat that in some cases they would increase the margin of the winning candidate. The study is not online but I can email you the 26-page pdf file if you are interested.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:54 AM

Paycheck protection in other states

This Bee story says public employee unions have blunted the effect of paycheck protection measures passed in other states. But it mentions that in Utah, the percentage of teachers contributing to the union's political fund has dropped from 68 percent to 6.8 percent. One reason: the law says the government can no longer collect political money, even if the union members agree to have it taken from their paychecks. Instead, the union has to contact its members and ask for the money.

That seems like a sound principle to me. Union issues aside, the government really has no business getting directly involved in politics by helping certain private groups raise money to spend on campaigns.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:12 AM



At Crossroads, a panel of experts and the public debate the future of health care in California. We'd like you to join the conversation.

Daniel Weintraub


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