The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 9, 2012
A.M. Reading: Jerry Brown's 'bizarrely low' budget forecast; union battlegrounds; New York's retirement bottleneck

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifEconomist says Jerry Brown's budget underestimates revenue
At least one prominent economist says Gov. Jerry Brown is underestimating the strength of the recovery in his new budget proposal. Chris Thornberg, a Los Angeles consultant who advises State Controller John Chiang, said today he believes tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year could top Brown's forecast by around $4 billion. Thornberg, head of Beacon Economics, called the governor's forecast "bizarrely low." (Sacramento Bee)

Kitzhaber 3.0: One year into third term, Oregon's governor says he has 'better grasp' of the job
SALEM -- Republicans braced for another four years battling a governor notoriously known as "Dr. No" when Democrat John Kitzhaber won election to a history-making third term. But as Kitzhaber marks his first anniversary back in office, Republicans appear to be his biggest fans. If there's any frustration with Kitzhaber, it's from Democrats and traditional allies. (Oregonian)

Inmate calls Colorado Mental Health Institute treatment a Catch-22
In 1989, Gary Hilton feigned mental illness so he could go to the Colorado Mental Health Institute instead of prison. Today, he's the one crying foul, claiming the state hospital moved him to a high-security ward for his refusal to disclose past crimes and inappropriately warned his female friend that he is a serial killer. (Denver Post)

Op ed: Mentally ill suffer effects of government cutbacks
Because confusion has arisen lately regarding federal and state budget cuts and their effect on our ability to adequately care for the mentally ill, I thought I should clarify a few important issues. Many changes have been made during the past three years, and Missouri's 2012 mental health budget calls for another funding cut of $21.2 million in services. (Columbia Daily Tribune)

Workers' unions? North Korean dictatorships? Same difference!
Many of you folks may know of Godwin's law. As a standard for public debate, it's pretty good. Basically, as a debate gets more and more heated, the chances increase that someone will bring up a Nazi analogy or comparison. Corollaries to Godwin's law have further determined that once someone makes the Nazi analogy, they've automatically lost the argument. (Statesman Journal)

Wisconsin Gov. Walker: Unions 'want me dead'
With a June recall election all but certain, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the debate is no longer just about collective-bargaining rights for state workers. Union leaders and others, he said, have made it personal. (Washington Times)

The Buzz: How big is Jerry Brown's proposed California budget, really?
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget for California has touched off not only the annual wrangle over what to spend on what, but also the annual debate over how big the state budget really is. (Sacramento Bee)

ACLU sues Snyder, state of Michigan over loss of same-sex-partner health benefits
The ACLU of Michigan sued the state and Gov. Rick Snyder in federal court today to try to overturn a state law that prohibits certain public employers from providing health insurance and other benefits to same-sex domestic partners. (Detroit Free Press)

After a contentious political year, Republicans may moderate their approach
From the moment he took office last year, Florida Governor Rick Scott made clear that a new and unabashedly conservative administration had taken power in Tallahassee -- just as it had in state capitals around the country following an historic election haul for Republicans in 2010. (Stateline)

States vs. unions: Key battlegrounds
A summary of where labor and government leaders clashed last year. (LaCrosse Tribune)

Council Could Cancel its Own Pensions
Councilmember Pete Constant is leading the charge to terminate the CalPERS pension program for the mayor and City Council. Originally asking City Attorney Rich Doyle to study the proposal in June, Constant's Dec. 19 memo, which suggests Doyle draft a resolution that gives notice of the city's intention to terminate its contract with CalPERS, went in front the Rules and Open Govt. Committee on Wednesday and was unanimously approved. (San Jose Inside)

State's record as landlord tarnished by problems
For the sixth time in the past two decades, the state is in the market to buy a big hunk of office space. Two of the state's more recent office-building purchases haven't exactly been big scores. One, former 60 Washington St., once one of Hartford's prime addresses near the State Capitol, was imploded in January 2001 after languishing nearly a decade in state hands. (Hartford Business Journal)

Surge stalls state check
ALBANY --State workers have been forced to wait up to 10 months before they know the worth of their total retirement benefit because the system is still swamped by a special 2010 retirement incentive. (Albany Times Union)

Ex-state employee admits Medicaid fraud
A former employee of the state Medicaid system pleaded guilty Tuesday to a healthcare-fraud charge for her role in schemes to defraud the system of more than $200,000. (mysanantonio.com)

Fears of chaos in Irish public sector as 6,500 staff prepare to retire
An estimated 6,533 state workers are about to leave under the Government's early retirement deal -- sparking fears of chaos across public services. (Independent.ie)

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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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