Sunday, June 27, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Below is a link to a document from a joint senate-administration committee on faculty pay. The thrust of it is a plan to apply a med-school type compensation plan to other faculty, essentially a base state salary with supplements paid out of research grants or non-state sources. The document recognizes that for many non-med faculty, such grants/sources will not be available. I checked with UCOP to be sure this is not a confidential document before posting it.
Various propositions will be on the November ballot with implications for the state budget - and, therefore, the UC budget. One would eliminate the 2/3 super-majority vote required to pass the budget and change it to a simple majority. It would not change the 2/3 requirement for raising taxes. (The 2/3 vote on budgets goes back to the Great Depression; the 2/3 vote on taxes was part of Prop 13 of 1978.) But another initiative would impose the 2/3 requirement on raising "fees." The fee vs. tax distinction is not always clear and has provided some wiggle room for the legislature to get around the 2/3 tax requirement.
Detailed information on the November ballot propositions can be found on the California Secretary of State's website:
Also on the ballot will be a repeal of certain business tax breaks that were part of an earlier budget deal but which have not yet gone into effect. If passed, they would not go into effect.
There is a marijuana legalization proposition which would allow marijuana sales to be taxed. Some wild claims have been bandied about that taxing marijuana would solve the state budget problem. Please! There are three big taxes that really matter for the state: income, sales, and corporate profits. No one knows what the size of the marijuana market would be if it were totally legalized, but it ain't going to solve the state budget crisis.
Another proposition would apply a fee or tax (doesn't matter if it is done by initiative) to car licenses with the revenue to go to state parks. California cars would enter state parks for free. Out of state cars would pay.
But wait! There is more! One proposition would suspend AB32 (greenhouse gas law) until the state unemployment rate falls to 5.5% (which will be a long time from now). Another would kill the complicated redistricting panel passed by voters in 2008 and put redistricting back in the hands of the legislature. One would restrict the state's ability to "raid" local government and transportation funds. Finally, there is a big water bond (which is not an "initiative" - since it was put on the ballot by the legislature rather than by a voter petition).
In short, two industries that will not be suffering in the near term are TV broadcasters and political consultants.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
President Yudof and his counterparts at CSU and the community colleges discussed the Master Plan at a session at the Commonwealth Club on June 16, 2010. No shocking statements. Yudof, towards the end of the hour-plus session, did give some support to the 3-year undergrad degree concept.
Available for viewing by clicking on the video below:
The State's "Little Hoover Commission" is holding hearings on public pensions in California. There was a hearing yesterday on legal issues and one today 6-24-10. There does not appear to be any direct participation of UC in these hearings. Whether the UC pension is included in some background reports for the hearings is unknown (to me). The agenda is at:
UC's unique pension situation tends to be lost in state discussions of the much larger CalPERS and CalSTRS systems.
Note: A radio discussion of public pensions - including yours truly - can be heard at:
A Sacramento Bee report on the Little Hoover Commission hearings is below:
The State Worker: Are public pensions the root of all evil?
The nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission meets today to hear testimony about public pensions, aiming to dispassionately analyze the impact of retirement costs on governments and then, if needed, suggest changes.
Heaven knows we need a dose of level-headed analysis, given the wide-open rhetoric that "pension reform" provokes.
Unions see such efforts as a call to arms, "an attack on public employees," union lobbyist Dave Low once told The State Worker.
Last year when it looked like an initiative might make the ballot to cut benefits for future government hires, Low warned it would provoke a "nuclear response" from labor.
Context and moderation don't score political points on either side.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made rolling back state retirement benefits a top priority and has adroitly linked pensions to just about everything that ails the state.
Welfare? Kids' health care getting whacked? State aid for seniors? All on the chopping block all because ... of ... PENSIONS!!
Earlier this year, administration spokesman Aaron McLear said that the public is tired of a public pension system that is "crushing the rest of state government." David Crane, the governor's pension point man, calls the current retirement funding system "intergenerational theft" that has added to higher college tuitions.
It's a provocative narrative. It's also like a lifelong chain smoker cursing one pack of cigarettes for giving him lung cancer.
For some context, consider the tentative contracts agreed to last week by four unions representing about 23,000 state workers, including Highway Patrol officers and firefighters.
The deals, seen as a win for the governor, increase employees' pension contributions and lower retirement benefits from new hires. The state won't realize savings from that second provision for many years.
Those concessions and a few others in the four contracts translate into $72 million saved for fiscal 2010-11. About $43 million of that is savings for the $83 billion general fund, the shrinking pot of money at the center of the state's seemingly eternal budget crisis.
If all 235,000 or so state workers came under the same terms, the savings would be about $2.2 billion. The general fund, which is $19.1 billion short going into the July 1 start of the 2010-11 fiscal year, would realize about $1.1 billion of those savings. That's about 5 percent of the money needed to bridge the budget gap.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger's plan calls for the state to kick in $3.8 billion for pensions next year, a little more than half of that from the general fund.
Those are big dollars and an expense that can't be ignored. But pensions aren't the big fix to this year's budget mess, either.
Still, that won't keep either side from the over-the-top rhetoric.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The furlough and minimum wage issues are getting closer. The governor can't order UC to pay minimum wage or impose new furloughs. But - as noted in prior posts - the issue is whether UC will be politically able to go its own way when other state workers (including those at CSU) are subject to furloughs and minimum wages. As also noted previously, the imposition of the min wage does not depend on whether cash is available to pay full salaries. It depends only on whether a budget is in place on July 1, which seems unlikely.
PolitiCal (LA Times)
On politics in the Golden State
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to cut the pay of state workers to minimum wage if a timely budget accord is not reached, according to a memo sent Wednesday from the director of the governor's Department of Personnel Administration to state agency and department heads.
The memo, written by DPA director Debbie Endsley, also warned that Schwarzenegger could order more controversial furloughs, even though the state's final scheduled furlough day for tens of thousands of employees was last Friday.
"The Governor retains the right and authority to order furloughs if necessary to address a fiscal and cash crisis," Endsley wrote.
The new fiscal year begins July 1, but lawmakers and Schwarzenegger remain far from an agreement on a spending plan. Democratic lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly still have not unified behind one budget plan, while Schwarzenegger and legislative Republicans have stood behind the governor’s May proposal to eliminate welfare and trim billions from state spending.
Schwarzenegger tried in 2008 to pay workers minimum wage when the budget talks stalemated, but state Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, refused. A lower court judge ruled against Chiang and the issue is now before the 3rd District Court of Appeals.
In the Wednesday memo, Endsley wrote that "absent a state budget, we will send instructions to the Controller to pay [minimum] wages ... for the July pay period." The paychecks for that pay period are issued at the end of July. Once a budget is signed, workers would be entitled to their full back pay.
The threat is intended both to speed up budget negotiations in the Legislature and to push union leaders to the collective bargaining table. Last week, Schwarzenegger announced tentative deals with four labor unions. If ratified, those workers would be exempt from the minimum wage order, as Endsley noted in the memo.
-- Shane Goldmacher in SacramentoThe full memo is after the jump
Here’s an update on the furlough and minimum wage situations.
With respect to furloughs, the current program ends June 30, and the Administration expects the State to resume normal hours of operation in July. The Governor’s budget proposal includes four proposals to reduce employee compensation costs: a wage cut, one day per month of unpaid leave, increased employee contributions to pensions, and the workforce cap. The Governor retains the right and authority to order furloughs if necessary to address a fiscal and cash crisis.
As for the prospect of state workers receiving minimum wage in lieu of full wages, it will depend on when the Legislature and the Governor reach a budget agreement. The California Supreme Court ruled in 2003 (White v. Davis) that absent an appropriation, which for most of the payroll comes through the annual state budget, the Controller is prohibited from paying state workers beyond what is required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Absent a state budget, we will send instructions to the Controller to pay wages in accordance with the FLSA for the July pay period.
The four unions that recently reached tentative agreements on new contracts (CHP officers, firefighters, psychiatric technicians, and some medical professionals) would not be subject to any new furlough program or minimum wage payments, assuming their contracts are ratified in a timely manner.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Budget Update: June 22
California Treasurer Bill Lockyer says that the tax plan developed by the assembly Democrats in the legislature depends on a bond sale Wall Street will not accept. That is because the Attorney General’s office (Jerry Brown) says the borrowing would violate Prop 58 of 2004. (If such a bond were declared to be illegally issued, the holders could lose everything, even if the state had the cash to honor the commitment.) Assembly Democratic leaders say they disagree with the legal opinion and seem to be pursuing their plan. But if their bonds cannot be sold, the plan would appear to be DOA. The senate plan involves taxes but in a way that avoids the 2/3 vote requirement for new taxes. However, even if the 2/3 vote for taxes is avoided, there is the companion requirement of a 2/3 vote for the budget as a whole which Republicans can block. Moreover, the Democrats’ assembly and senate budget plans have yet to be reconciled. And the governor is taking the position that he won’t sign a budget unless a 2-tier pension plan is included.
Note: It seems likely that some kind of de facto borrowing will take place in whatever budget is eventually enacted, given the magnitude of the current fiscal problem. See http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/documents/areas/fac/hrob/mitchell_lowdown.pdf
Litigation on Minimum Wage
Absent a budget on July 1, prior court decisions indicate the governor can order the state controller (John Chiang) to pay state workers only the minimum wage. (The workers would be made whole once a budget is passed.) This matter is again in litigation with the controller arguing that a) the prior decision was incorrect and b) the outmoded state payroll computers can’t be made to issue min wage paychecks. UC is not directly affected but what UC would do when other state workers are paid the minimum has not been addressed by the powers-that-be in Oakland. (CSU would be affected.) As a prior post noted, the issue of the minimum wage has nothing to do with whether the state is strapped for cash to pay. It has only to do with whether there is a budget in place authorizing payment of salaries. The governor gets leverage in bargaining with state labor unions from the minimum wage issue. Some have agreed to concessions in exchange for a promise not to impose the min wage on their workers. Most workers, however, are not covered by those deals. And the deals themselves are contingent on legislative approval which for various reasons would involve a 2/3 vote.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Selected non-YouTube audios and videos from the discontinued savingUCLA website are available below. Click on the links below. Note: Audios are actually videos with a still picture. Originally, these audios/videos were moved to video-Yahoo. As a post in December 2010 indicated, video-Yahoo is discontiuing its service. (Yahoo is in commercial decline due to competition from Google, YouTube, etc.) . So the files were transitioned to Facebook. In some cases, the audio is poor, either because it was poor originally or because the files were saved in a way that limited the quality. I have originals in some cases that are of better quality. If you need a better quality file than is available here, email me and I will see if a better-quality file is available.
Videos (audios) from savingUCLA and video-Yahoo are found below:
Regents meeting of 11-19-09 at Covel. These audios are broken down into sections:
* Issue of UC operating Martin Luther King hospital in Los Angeles considered. Hospital had been largely closed due to poor operation by LA County. Tuition increase issue mentioned.
* Discussion of Martin Luther King hospital operation continues. Vote taken. UC agrees to operate hospital. References to tuition increase.
* Public comments related to UC tuition increase approved in committee the previous day. Ends with room being cleared of protesters.
* Various committee reports delivered. Discussion and presentation on support for former foster children at UC. Fundraising discussion.
* Includes conclusion of committee reports and vote on tuition increase. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass asks Regents to help in obtaining more revenue. A motion to separate out tuition increase for graduate students is defeated. Concerns are raised about inclusion of social work programs as professional schools but no action is taken.
Regents 11-19-09 MLK Hospital Approval
Part 1 Sec 1
Part 1 Sec 2
Part 1 Sec 3
Part 1 Sec 4 (end)
Regents 11-19-09 Public Comments & Demonstration
Part 2 Sec 1
Part 2 Sec 2 (end)
Regents 11-19-09 Committees
Part 3 Sec 1
Part 3 Sec 2
Part 3 Sec 3
Part 3 Sec 4 (end)
Regents 11-19-09 Tuition & Other
Part 4 Sec 1
Part 4 Sec 2
Part 4 Sec 3 (end)
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Defending the University 10-15-09
First Panel Sec 1
First Panel Sec 2
First Panel Sec 3
First Panel Sec 4
First Panel Sec 5 (end)
Second Panel Sec 1
Second Panel Sec 2
Second Panel Sec 3
Second Panel Sec 4
Second Panel Sec 5 (end)
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Senate on Budget 8-26-09
Part 6 (end)
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Radio Interview with Gould, Cheng, & Edley: 3-30-10
Radio Interview 3-30-10 on UC Future & Funding: KPCC radio interview with Russell Gould, Jesse Cheng, & Christopher Edley on UC Future and Funding.
Part 2 (end)
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Jerry Brown as Gubernatorial Candidate Radio Interview 3-11-10
Gubernatorial candidate (and former governor) Brown was interviewed on KCRW's "Which Way LA?", March 11, 2010.
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Academic Senate on Budget 6-11-10
UCLA forum held on June 11, 2009 to discuss budget crisis. Chancellor Block, EVC Waugh, finance VC Olsen. Note: video and audio quality are limited.
Part 7 (end)
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Regents meeting 3-25-10
Excerpt: UC Regents Meeting 3-25-2010 (Audio) at UC-SF: Executive pay, brief reference to MLK hospital and possible UC role in prison healthcare, indemnification policy of Regents and others, president's report, committee to be formed on campus climate.
Part 2 (end)
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Legislative Assembly on University Commission on the Future: 4-29-10
UCLA Legislative Assembly 4-29-10 discusses UC Commission on the Future Parts 1-5 and UCLA budget Parts 5-8. Audio only. Sections unrelated to these two topics have been edited out.
Part 8 (end)
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Post-Employment Benefits at UCLA: 10-12-09
Part 6 (end)
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University Commission on the Future: 9-8-09
Sec 12 (end)
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