The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 12, 2011
A.M. Reading: Pensions' impact; Calif. receipts down; Minn. mess

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCalPERS says its pensions have $4 billion impact in Sacramento area
With the cost of public pensions still a hot political issue, a study commissioned by CalPERS shows that government retirement checks represent a potent economic benefit to the Sacramento area. The study, to be released today, says retirees in the six-county Sacramento area received pension checks totalling $2.08 billion last year. (Sacramento Bee)

CalPERS adds $12 billion to California economy, study says
Reporting from Sacramento-- The California Public Employees' Retirement System pumped nearly $12 billion into the state's economy last year through benefits paid to retirees and other beneficiaries, making it "a significant economic engine in most California communities," a new study says. (Los Angeles Times)

California looks to UC, CSU for lending hand
The state just slashed $650 million each from the California State University and University of California, but it's now looking to the two systems to loan the state some cash. (Sacramento Bee)

Controller John Chiang: Cash receipts $350 million behind
It didn't take long for California's optimistic budget to fall behind in tax revenues. (Sacramento Bee)

Therapist attacked in December 'fears' returning to work
Six months after he was attacked, Napa State Hospital rehabilitation therapist George Anderson is afraid to go back to the place he worked for three decades. "I fear this place," Anderson said, choking back tears. (Napa Valley Register)

California pension proposal seeks to hike employee contributions
From California to Florida, many public employees are paying more for their pensions now than a year ago as strapped state and local governments cast about for savings. Now a sweeping Republican proposal in the California Senate, among other changes, would hike how much all current and future state and local government workers pay toward their pensions. (Sacramento Bee)

Californians are paying a high price for a low car tax
Republican legislators have been taking credit justifiably for cuts in sales and car taxes. But they're disingenuously denying any responsibility for soaring university tuitions, the closing of state parks or the shredding of grandma's safety net. They can't have it both ways. (Los Angeles Times)

Budget cuts likely to mean longer lines, slower service at county courthouses
Scott Allen waited in the courthouse Monday, and he waited, and he waited some more, to file papers to gain custody of his son. The boy's mother had threatened to take him away, and Allen needed to stop her. "This is bad," said Allen, 42, who works as a petition gatherer. "She's trying to take him to the Midwest. If I don't get this filed in time, and she gets ahold of him, she could take my son halfway across the country. (Sacramento Bee)

CalPERS announces $160 million profit on Brazilian real estate investment
California's two public pension funds are starting to make some money in real estate after several years of hard knocks. CalPERS on Monday said it has cashed out of a Brazilian real estate investment at a $160 million profit. The news came a week after CalSTRS, the teachers pension fund, disclosed a $101 million profit on a New York real estate deal. (Sacramento Bee)

Governor Brown taking stock of judge picks
Preoccupied by the state's budget crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to appoint his first judge to California's courts, including a spot on the state Supreme Court that has been vacant since February. But with the budget now in place, the Brown administration has shown signs in recent weeks of cranking up its machinery to start appointing judges, considered perhaps the most enduring legacy for any governor. (Contra Costa Times)

Top university salaries stun some students
Local college students uniformly expressed dismay to learn what the leaders of their state universities were earning. (Press-Enterprise)

Video: Clothing For State Workers Cost $44M
A look at how much Massachusetts spends on state employees' clothing. (WCVB)

D.C. part of layoff mix
ALBANY -- Among the hundreds of state workers who have been targeted for possible layoffs later this month, you'll find some holding jobs made possible through federal funding. (Albany Times-Union)

State lawmakers put off decision on request to block state workers' pay raises
A bipartisan panel of state lawmakers will put off a decision Tuesday on a request by Gov. Pat Quinn to block scheduled 2 percent pay increases for 30,000 unionized state workers, the co-chair of the committee said. (Chicago Tribune)

OCA Urges Up to 41% Pay Raise for Judges
Court administrators yesterday urged "an immediate and substantial" salary increase for 1,200 state judges who have not had a raise since January 1999. (New York Law Journal)

Recall elections in Wisconsin test support for Republican program
MILWAUKEE -- When Wisconsin state Senator Alberta Darling, a Republican, first started gearing up for a recall election in the wake of mass labor protests, it looked like the race would focus on her support for a law that substantially weakened labor unions. But now, with little more than a month before the election, the message -- if not the opposition -- has changed. (Stateline.org)

Opinion: Unions Should Concede Shorter Hours
Here's a new concept, a state employee concession plan that everybody can understand: guarantee jobs for a shorter workweek. In reading the now failed agreement between the Malloy administration and the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, I was amazed at how complicated they made it for members, including me, to read. Here are a few quotes from the agreement ... (Hartford Courant)

The Minnesota Mess
Still no deal; Gov. goes on the road
St. Paul, Minn. -- On Day 12 of the state government shutdown and Gov. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders don't have any budget talks scheduled. (Minnesota Public Radio)

Minnesota shuts down -- to Pawlenty's benefit?
Minnesota's government shutdown is into its second week, paralyzing all but essential state government services, leaving 20,000 employees out of work and sullying the state's reputation for bipartisan cooperation. So why is Tim Pawlenty happy? (Washington Post)

Cautionary Lessons From State's Shutdown
ST. PAUL -- The shutdown of the State of Minnesota has forced the opening of a new hearing room here, where pleas have flowed forth, one after the next, for a week. May local officials dredge so barges can get through here along the Mississippi River even though laid-off state officials are not around to watch? Might 41 State Patrol officers not quite done with field training be deemed essential and sent back to work like others in the patrol? If the outlines of a government shutdown are simple -- politicians cannot agree on how to spend money, so everything stops -- the details are not. (New York Times)

Some Minn. state workers get paid
ST. PAUL - While thousands of Minnesota employees go without paychecks because the state government is shut down, many lawmakers are still being paid. And the list of workers whose services are deemed "essential'' includes the governor's housekeeper and his personal chef. (AP / Boston Globe)

Unions start stitching safety net for workers hit by shutdown
Two of the state's public employee unions are establishing a safety net for the 22,000 state workers who are laid off because of the state government shutdown. (Minnesota Public Radio)

For links to more news, views and video, check out The State Worker's Individurls page. To see our vast archive of searchable A.M. Reading headlines, go to Publish2.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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