California Books

  • State lawmakers convening on Monday in Olympia will not have to rely on staff reports to tell them how bad the economy is, the evidence is all around them. A few reports they would be wise to read, however, are four released last year that......

  • At the end of last year, a federal judge ruled that the San Francisco Health Access Plan’s “pay or play” mandate (that employers provide health benefits or pay a tax of $1.17 to $1.76 per hour per worker) violated ERISA (the Employe...

  • Perhaps the most hypocritical element of California Health Deforminator Model ABX1 1, the deal forged between Gov. Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Nuñez, is the omnipresence of Safeway CEO Steve Burd at the governor’s side whenever he talks...

  • UGotNerve, August 14, 2008 Human Events, January 8, 2008 When middle-class parents in California opened their newspapers recently and read that the leviathan Los Angeles Unified School District had overpaid their employees by $53 million, many likely...

  • Although we have no time for Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Health Deforminator Model ABX1 1, we’re sure glad he struck a commission to get a handle on the state’s public sector retiree health benefits. You know all that talk ...

  • Two years ago, our family moved from San Francisco to Marin County, motivated partly by high prices in San Francisco restaurants. Now we mostly dine north of the Golden Gate Bridge and for 2008 we were prepared to give up on San Francisco entirely. T...

  • Last week Governor Schwarzenegger created a new state agency to help Californians protect their personal information online. With more than one million cases of identity theft reported in California last year, the Office of Information Security and P...

  • Proposal costs 2 ½ times more than planned, 50,000 to 100,000 jobs lost annually Introducing the California “Sick Tax” Calculator San Francisco — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed $14 billion dollar health care plan would likely cost $36 bill...

  • Flash Report, January 28, 2008 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, and their allies in Big Business and Big Labor are in desperate need of a reality check about the states’ finances. A small group of these ...

  • Californians entered 2007 hopeful that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders would collaborate to find real solutions to overcome the “root causes” of rapidly increasing health costs, the growing number of uninsured, and the rise in ...

  • The California Broadband Task Force, convened by Governor Schwarzenegger, concluded last month that high-speed Internet access should be a public investment, much like roads and power lines. The CBTF proposes “state-issued broadband bonds” to bring u...

  • Last month the Senate health committee dumped the Schwarzenegger/Núñez Model ABX1 1, California’s trend-setting gadget for health-care repair. Senator Sheila Kuehl, who chairs that committee, tossed it for more personal reasons, other than the ...

  • Sacramento Union, February 15, 2008 SACRAMENTO – Jan. 29 was Milton Friedman Day, which may have escaped Californians’ notice. I wonder: Could Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gain inspiration from the ideas of the late Nobel laureate and lauded economist?...

  • Democratic Sen. Sheila Kuehl, who chairs the Senate health committee, made sure that a recent attempt at health care overhaul in California went down in flames last month. Her committee rejected ABX1 1, the Schwarzenegger-Nunez health care reform leg...

  • I’ve not only criticized the Healthy San Francisco employer “pay or play” mandate that has dropped a payroll tax of $1.17 to $1.76 per hour on the city’s struggling businesses; I’ve actually proposed an alternative. But&...

  • Using a very appropriate headline, the features editor of the California Healthline points out that California’s “health reformers try again on a smaller scale”. Unfortunately, they are not trying small enough. Although the Schwarze...

  • One of Sacramento’s great laments is the number of Californians without health insurance. The predictable bad solution has been to propose billions in additional taxes. California has been spared so far from this counterintuitive, costly “...

  • The Sacramento Business Journal (subscribers only) has surveyed the “drop-in” clinics that have sprouted up around the state’s capital city in the last three years or so. It’s amazing what a diverse group they are! Sutter Expr...

  • After folding on ABX 1 1, the governor now tries his hand at the state’s dwindling budget with desperate ideas to rescind tax credits and request more federal funds. As for health care, the legislature’s “new” approach is incremental change. There ar...

  • The Health Affairs blog has just wrapped up a series of posts from a number of folks who supported, to various degrees, the so-called “reform” that Governor Schwarzenegger and his allies recently tried to foist on California. I suppose th...

  • You would think that anyone seriously wanting to improve health care in America would want to reduce, not increase the administrative, bureaucratic burden of over regulation, in order to ensure more dollars go to patient care. But if you profit from ...

  • California is listed as a “sinner” when it comes to the risk and cost of liability lawsuits, according to a new state-by-state study by the conservative, San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute. The state is ranked 34th among the 50 states in ...

  • I suppose if I were a patient at one of Sutter Health’s ten hospitals in Northern California, now at the mid-point of a ten-day long nursing strike, I might find some cold comfort in the California Nurses Association’s claim that this wal...

  • Imagine if you bought an airline ticket to fly from San Francisco to Chicago and, after the flight, you received another, extra, bill from the co-pilot for what he claims is a fair price for his services flying the plane. He is unsatisfied with the.....

  • There’s a new line item on many restaurant bills in San Francisco: the “surcharge,” ranging from a flat per-person fee to a percentage of the bill. Why? To cover the cost of universal health care for employees. Stacey Delo reports. ...

  • I wish that I had the PR skills of Families USA. When I released the U.S. Index of Health Ownership, comparing government interference in health care across the land, I only did it once. Families USA has figured out that if it releases the same......

  • In the wake of the Massachusetts health reform and California’s recent attempt at an overhaul, more states are jumping on the bandwagon to “cover the uninsured.” That can be a tricky matter, like health reform in general. Gov. Charl...

  • The California Assembly health committee has just voted thumbs-up to two bills that will increase the cost of individually purchased health insurance in the Golden State. Probably the least harmful is AB 2459, which prevents a health plan from rescin...

  • The California Medical Association is supporting a bill that will reduce competition amongst the state’s health plans, which will have the secondary effect of reducing doctors’ negotiating position with respect to health plans and, theref...

  • SACRAMENTO – Recent results from a national student writing test confirm the lament that writing is becoming a lost art, especially in California. Contrary to the sound bites of educators, the inability to write coherent sentences is not just a probl...

  • What is the point of passing a law that requires independent analyses of the costs of mandating which benefits health plans must cover, if the lawmakers are then free to ignore the results of the independent analyses? The California Legislature is co...

  • In the April 17 editorial “Taxes done and mailed; let’s consider reforms,” The Bee says: “An ideal tax system would be flat overall, with progressive income taxes offsetting regressive property, sales and excise taxes. That wa...

  • Health care reform is still on the table in California, which should consider carefully the achievements and failings of foreign systems. Canada is the usual candidate but Australia’s health care strategies deserve a closer look. The negative effects...

  • On February 22, the last day to introduce new legislation in the 2007-2008 session, California’s lawmakers unleashed more than 650 bills. In this barrage, legislators seek to derail one of the state’s thriving industries: the technology s...

  • PRI Introduces a 3% Flat Income Tax Rate Plan for Californians SACRAMENTO, MAY 6, 2008 – The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, today released the results of a study to determine a revenue-neutral flat inc...

  • Californians may have paid their federal and state taxes last month but the Golden State remains in a fiscal crisis with a projected 2008-2009 fiscal year budget deficit as high as $20.2 billion, according to the governor’s estimate on April 29. Such...

  • Californians may have paid their federal and state taxes last month, but the Golden State remains in a fiscal crisis, with a projected 2008-2009 fiscal year budget deficit as high as $20.2 billion, according to the governor’s estimate on April 29. Su...

  • The PRI flat-tax plan for California will greatly simplify the current tax code. It will completely eliminate the alternative minimum tax, as well as estate, inheritance, and gift taxes. It will also revamp the convoluted, loophole-ridden corporate a...

  • As California struggles to get control of its budget deficit, Governor Schwarzenegger (who as recently as January collaborated with Democrats to almost wrangle a $15 billion health care tax and spending increase through the legislature) has been forc...

  • I have long alleged that the real (unstated) objective of San Francisco’s Health Access Plan was to direct more tax money and power to the City’s public health bureaucracy, and the experience so far does nothing to dispel that. It’s...

  • It is going to be a long hot summer in California’s capital as negotiations heat up over what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in late April projected to be a $20.2 billion budget deficit for next fiscal year, starting July 1. Because a two-thirds ma...

  • As California goes, so goes the nation. California is now leading the quest to impose new racial and gender reporting requirements on foundations as well as the charities that receive grants from them and the businesses that work with them. Such legi...

  • SACRAMENTO – On June 2, California celebrates the 10th anniversary of Proposition 227, the “English for the Children” initiative many believed would end bilingual education in the state’s classrooms. While 227 has resulted in numerous positive change...

  • Today California celebrates the 10th anniversary of Proposition 227, the “English for the Children” initiative many believed would end bilingual education in the public schools. Despite the positive results of Prop. 227, a new study by the Pacific Re...

  • One area of health care where hospitals and doctors face off against health plans, without any satisfactory resolution, is providers’ “balance billing” patients who present at out-of-network emergency rooms. Because the hospital is ...

  • In many horror movies, the hero kills the zombie only to find that the baddie’s hand he chopped off keeps crawling towards him, relentless in its quest to strangle the living. Some of the health care bills moving through the California Legislat...

  • Being Friday, I thought I’d lay off the heavy analysis and have some fun with my old bugaboo, San Francisco’s pointless and expensive Health Access Plan. As discussed before, I am at a loss to understand what this program achieves, other ...

  • The United States saw 324,000 jobs disappear in the first five months of the year – more evidence of a shaky economy. The news will surely prompt legislation intended to bolster jobs with “temporary” government programs. But the bes...

  • Thirty years last ago Friday, on June 6, 1978, Californians passed Proposition 13, the “People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation.” It helped California homeowners, but is now blamed for many of the state’s woes. Owning a home has always been pa...

  • New bills in the New York legislature are designed to prevent inducements to switch prescriptions. But what about a bill to improve patients’ likelihood of sticking with the therapy they were first prescribed? According to a recent literature r...

  • Proposition 98, the eminent domain measure that also would have phased out rent control, failed to pass on the June 3 ballot. That means rent control will continue to hurt both landlords and tenants in California because rent control laws restrict wh...

  • The last decisive action we saw on SB-840, a bill to impose government-monopoly health care in California, was a gubernatorial veto in September 2006. Nevertheless, its sponsor, state senator Sheila Kuehl pitched the same bill into the Legislature ag...

  • Has it been only a few days since I advised readers to “hold on to your hats: a good health bill might actually pass in California”? Although it got through the Senate at the end of May, the Assembly Health Committee killed it unanimously...

  • Like other bloggers here, I’m no fan of employer-sponsored health care. I wish those who benefit from it would embrace real, consumer-driven reform. Nevertheless, I am always amazed at how the mainstream media covers stories of health insurers&...

  • The city council of Milpitas, California has unanimously approved a city takeover of the municipal wi-fi system installed a year ago by Earthlink. The company is abandoning the Milpitas infrastructure as it exits the muni wi-fi sector nationwide. Mil...

  • I have written a series of blog entries about California’s health care regulators attacking health plans for “rescission,” which the regulators have equated with “post-claims underwriting.” The former consists of revokin...

  • Yesterday, I asked the quasi-rhetorical question: “Why did California’s campaign against Anthem Blue Cross collapse?”, addressing state regulators’ failure to collect a $1 million fine for Anthem Blue Cross’ allegedly il...

  • San Francisco’s tax-hiking and opaque pay-or-play business tax to fund its public health bureaucracy claims to have finally overcome one of the major criticisms that I had made of it. Namely, that it did nothing to improve the quality or delive...

  • Note: PRI’s Director of Education Studies, Lance T. Izumi, is featured as a panel participant in this documentary chronicling the decline of California’s education system which is currently being shown on public television stations in Cal...

  • California has recently cemented its reputation as the most politically correct state in the nation, and possibly the most humorless. Those with doubts on that score might compare the cases of Carlos Bustamante and Cruz Bustamante. U.S. Air Force vet...

  • California’s high school dropout rate has been recalculated and the results are surprising. For several years, California’s Department of Education has been reporting a high school dropout rate ranging between three and 13 percent. Howeve...

  • The Star-Ledger is reporting that Hoffmann-La Roche, which employs 3,240 workers in New Jersey, is moving its corporate headquarters to California. Although the full jobs impact is not yet known, Hoffmann-La Roche’s move represents another setb...

  • California Catholic Daily, July 23, 2008 Two Catholic hospitals join program to give “free” medical care to city’s 73,000 uninsured Three private hospitals in San Francisco – two of them Catholic – this month agreed to participate in the city’s ambit...

  • California’s budget deficit has ballooned to more than $15 billion. Recently Democratic lawmakers proposed to close the gap by – you guessed it – hiking taxes on the wealthy. Yet a quick review of the facts suggests that spending cuts are a much more...

  • I have written a lot about the collapse of Los Angeles’ Martin Luther King, Jr-Harbor Hospital, a hospital almost totally dependent on government funding and under government control. Now, it looks like the same tragic story may be spooling out...

  • Imagine if you bought an airline ticket to fly from San Francisco to Chicago and after the flight you received an extra bill from the co-pilot for what he claims is a fair price for his services. He is unsatisfied with the airline’s pay and......

  • Enterprises that “collaborate” with government generally find that the costs come to outweigh the benefits. Those who seek a “seat at the table” often end up being the main course. (Thanks to Bridgett Wagner of the Heritage Fo...

  • Ever since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Health Care Deforminator ABX1 1 stumbled just short of the finish line last January, he and his Democratic allies in the legislature have been looking to move bits and pieces of the failed heal...

  • Only three days ago, I wondered what Los Angeles hoped to achieve by passing an ordnance forbidding hospitals from discharging ER patients without their written consent. As I noted, many homeless people would be happy to stay in the hospital for quit...

  • For nine days last month, San Francisco’s state-of-the-art new computer network was held hostage by a convicted felon. Even a team of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest engineers working around the clock could not crack his code. Finally...

  • The Sacramento Bee, our, our fair capital’s daily newspaper, has editorialized on the issue of “balance billing”, whereby ER doctors and hospitals which are not in a patient’s health plan’s network, send high-priced (and...

  • The last time I had a critical look at the neo-prohibitionists, it was via a pamphlet opposing a tobacco tax hike in California. Now, the Marin Institute has completed a “landmark” study suggesting that we need to hike alcohol taxes in th...

  • On August 6, the California Coastal Commission approved a desalination plant at Carlsbad in San Diego County, a region with severe water needs in normal times and hard hit by the current drought. The $300-million for-profit venture by the Poseidon Re...

  • Ever since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ABX1 1 stumbled just short of the finish line last January, he and his Democratic allies in the legislature have been looking to move bits and pieces of the failed health reform plan forward. Amazingly, o...

  • When middle-class parents in California opened their newspapers recently and read that the leviathan Los Angeles Unified School District had overpaid their employees by $53 million, many likely took comfort in the belief that at least the school dist...

  • Sacramento Union, August 21, 2008 For nine days last month, San Francisco’s state-of-the-art new computer network was held hostage by a convicted felon. Even a team of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest engineers working around the clock could not c...

  • Three months late, governor Schwarzenegger has finally signed a budget. Unfortunately, the governor and legislators missed the chance to wrangle Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, under control. The budget agreement held the line pretty well on ...

  • California’s new budget deal is a short-term fix that leaves the Golden State without a long-term solution to its financial woes. More often than not, lessons from our neighbors to the north concern what not to do. However, in the case of budge...

  • Op-Ed Talk is hosted by Bernie Jones, editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Opinion pages. Each Thursday at 11:30 a.m., Bernie interview a contributor to the pages, focusing on topics of current interest. Robert Murphy, senior fellow in busin...

  • In this installment of Education Watch, Bruce Fuller and Lance T. Izumi discuss the candidates’ positions on bilingual education. Go to Mr. Fuller’s post. Lance T. Izumi, a senior fellow in California studies and the senior director of education stud...

  • Gov. Schwarzenegger has signed a budget that holds spending down to $103 billion. Unfortunately, the governor and legislators missed the chance to wrangle Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, under control. Medi-Cal is a big part of the state’s de...

  • How “back-door” bilingual education flouts state law and harms California students Under 227’s provisions, “all children in California public schools shall be taught English by being taught in English.” Specifically, “English learners shall be educat...

  • I have written a lot about San Francisco’s Healthy Access Plan. SF HAP taxes small businesses, which cannot afford to provide health benefits, to fund the city’s public health bureaucracy. It’s a job-killer, gives no evidence of imp...

  • Only two weeks after lawmakers in Sacramento passed a budget, the state is already in the red. As Governor Schwarzenegger and the legislature debate more spending cuts and accounting tricks, another solution may be right in front of them: more laws. ...

  • Only two weeks after lawmakers in Sacramento passed a budget, the state is already in the red. As Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Legislature debate more spending cuts and accounting tricks, another solution may be right in front of them: more laws. In C...

  • Despite a (possibly short-term) victory in court, San Francisco’s Health Access Program faces an uphill struggle to provide so-called “universal” health care to San Franciscans. SF HAP, a.k.a. “Healthy San Francisco”, is...

  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invested a lost year in health reform, allying himself with former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez in support of a bill to increase taxes and spending on government-mandated health care by more than $12 billion annually. ...

  • The (usually more reliable) Riverside Press-Enterprise reported the proceedings of a conference, held over the last two days, which issued a dreary post-mortem on the Schwarzenegger-Nuñez California Health Care Deforminator ABX1-1. ABX1-1 was Governo...

  • The state government’s stifling economic policies are worsening the downturn and driving citizens elsewhere. With the implosion of its storied investment banks and the future of Wall Street in doubt, New York will suffer the effects of the financial ...

  • Lisa Girion and Michael A. Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times have relieved themselves of a feature-focus of three stories about how awful private health plans are. They managed to interview key leaders of the campaign for government-mandated health in...

  • California’s high-risk pool for medically uninsured residents, MRMIP, is in trouble – poorly funded and lots of eligible folks are on the waiting list to enrol – according to the Los Angeles Times. The article notes that other state...

  • Calling venture capitalist Tim Draper an ardent Republican is something of an understatement. In 1999, he was enough of a fan of then-candidate George W. Bush that he chaired three fundraisers over a year before the actual election. Salon once dubbed...

  • Health Care News (Heartland Institute), November 1, 2008 California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to veto several bills passed by the state legislature, even though the measures are similar to a sweeping health care plan he proposed but ...

  • California officials recently ordered two “personal genomics” firms to cease and desist operations within the state. The companies eventually were allowed to continue operations – with a few more regulatory conditions – but wh...

  • Eureka Reporter, November 4, 2008 Sacramento Union, November 12, 2008 SACRAMENTO – Last month Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed September 25 “Stem Cell Awareness Day.” That news got by many Californians, who remain unaware of how California i...

  • The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, the lone battler in the struggle against “Healthy San Francisco”, has found a couple of bigger friends to fight back against the City & County of San Francisco’s bullies. The National Bus...

  • California Republic, November 7, 2008 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA), November 13, 2008 SACRAMENTO – Today, one day after a national election, a special California legislative session, called for by Governor Schwarzenegger, begins to deal...

  • As President-elect Obama assembles his team, back here in California, the new legislature prepares to convene in less than 30 days and the governor stews about a several-billion-dollar deficit only a few weeks after the state’s supposedly balanced bu...

  • A major driver of health costs over the last couple of decades is chronic illness such as diabetes and heart disease. It’s time to add another chronic ailment to the list: “preventionitis.” Because much chronic disease is associated...

  • The Sacramento Bee has editorialized on a topic near to our hearts at PRI: stem cell research. Actually, stem cell research itself is “above our paygrade” as the President-elect might say. Nevertheless, we have an intense interest in the ...

  • Don’t get me wrong: of all the various byzantine agencies that comprise the massive (and growing) government intervention in American health care, counties’ public-health agencies are probably my favorite (or, perhaps to assuage the arch-...

  • With the support of Governor Schwarzenegger, the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose last week announced a $1-billion joint plan to make the Bay Area “the electric-vehicle capital of the world.” The announcement follows President-elect Oba...

  • Last week, the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group joined a score of local California tax groups and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in telling our governor and Legislature in no uncertain terms that they need to cut state spending, not rai...

  • Health Care News (Heartland Institute), December 1, 2008 Members of the U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee are debating the merits of enacting tax breaks for individuals who buy private insurance, which would put them on equal tax footing ...

  • California legislators are in the midst of a “special session” to deal with this fiscal year’s budget deficit, estimated at $10 billion. They should use this session to boost California’s ability to generate economic growth and the tax re...

  • The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has published its annual update on health insurance in the Golden State. I’m a big consumer of the Center’s research. It conducts the outstanding California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which ...

  • Most of the proposed solutions for California’s budget problems – spending cuts, tax increases, infrastructure spending – attempt to patch a Band-Aid on a festering wound but do not address the underlying causes of the infection – an economy we...

  • As California continues to teeter on insolvency, Republican legislators have proposed a budget amendment that transfers some funds from two health-care programs that are in surplus! Surplus? How the heck did that happen? The funds in question are for...

  • As California teeters on insolvency, Republican state legislators have proposed a budget that transfers $5 billion from two health care programs that are in surplus. The funds in question are for mental health and early childhood development. They ar...

  • As California teeters on insolvency, Republican state legislators have proposed a budget that transfers $5 billion from two health care programs that are in surplus. The funds in question are for mental health and early childhood development. They ar...

  • The past year certainly boasted some highlights, including the Olympics and a much-anticipated national election, but with 2008 behind us, the mood is not exactly upbeat in California. The economy has cooled off, and the “Golden State” finds itself s...

  • Facing a projected $40-billion budget shortfall, Governor Schwarzenegger last week proposed eliminating a redundant state board that has become a symbol of cronyism and inefficiency in Sacramento. Unlike most boards and commissions, which offer a sti...

  • State senator Sam Aanestad is still rolling out good health-care legislation in the Golden State. A few months ago, he introduced a bill that would improve California’s high-risk pool for health insurance, by allowing its beneficiaries to buy l...

  • Shortly after the national election last year, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management called a press conference at the Sacramento campus to announce their fourth UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders. This sounds interesting but the...

  • The news of octuplets born recently near Los Angeles shocked many people, especially since the mother, Nadya Suleman, apparently already had six children and is reported to be jobless and living with her parents. Such rare stories certainly sell news...

  • As I posted at the Pacific Research Institute website, the California State Lands Commission (SLC) has rejected a proposal that would have led to the first new oil drilling project off the California coast in 40 years. On January 29, the panel voted ...

  • Traditional tort law holds that manufacturers are responsible only for their own products, not those made by competitors. The California Supreme Court changed that in late January by declining to review Conte v. Wyeth, which leaves name-brand drug ma...

  • Last June California politicians claimed to have “fixed” the budget but according to a November 18 report from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) California now faces a budget deficit of $20.7 billion from the present until 2010-2011...

  • Now that President Obama has signed the three-quarter-of-a-trillion-dollar stimulus package, which contains $100 billion for public schools, many observers on the left and the right are concluding that the package won’t change very much in America’s ...

  • I think that health-care providers who want to survive and thrive in the days to come need a new, self-imposed, guideline for their businesses: “If government revenue is so important to you that a 5% cut drives you into court to recover it, you...

  • Earlier this month, state and local officials announced an agreement to re-open the Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Hospital in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2012. For four decades, Los Angeles’ most vulnerable, low-income patients suffered...

  • The California Assembly will soon consider proposals to “protect” residents from two of Silicon Valley’s most successful innovators. Google and Facebook help form the backbone of the state’s high-tech economy, but some lawmakers see them as a threat ...

  • It seemed appropriate that a panel examining ways to overhaul the state’s tax structure met Thursday in the academic confines of UC Davis rather than the politically charged Capitol. The discussion focused on the theoretical, from examining the...

  • A “must read” by Steve Moore, the lead economics writer for the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Page… Not So Golden SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A key component of the budget deal that California’s Republican Governor Arnold ...

  • The outlook for the California economy is dreadful, driven by a deeply perverse tax and regulatory environment, combined with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s highly successful five-year effort to avoid hard choices. And so the state budget, th...

  • In 1987, Gov. George Deukmejian gave California taxpayers a $1.1 billion rebate. Due to the Gann spending limit enacted in 1979, named after Proposition 13 co-author Paul Gann, the state had a budget surplus, making the rebate mandatory. Subsequent b...

  • The Tax Foundation recently released its annual Tax Freedom Day calculations. The news emanating from the report should be cause for great concern for all Americans, and Californians in particular. Tax Freedom Day represents the day when Americans be...

  • In a recent interview with Jason Clemens, Economist and Director of Research for the Pacific Research Institute, he explained that California’s budget problems are not really about taxes or the costs of illegal immigration. PRI is near completion of ...

  • The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) turns five in 2009, a good occasion for a report card, beginning with the “medicine” part. Here we have a problem. “The California program has yet to produce cures,” explains John M. Simpson, ...

  • Liberty on the Mind (an offshoot of Liberty on the Rocks for conferences) organized a conference on the subject of the fiscal crisis of the state of California at Santa Clara University on 27th April 2009. As a grassroots organization, LOTR attracts ...

  • Senator Barbara Boxer promised that California would get $11 billion in federal “stimulus” cash, which the embattled Golden State could use for a Medi-Cal bailout. But now President Obama is holding back almost $7 billion at the urging of the Service...

  • California, the state that gave us wheatgrass, the microprocessor and the summer of love, is about to provide us with yet another first: a bailout of a failing state government. Preliminary returns on Tuesday night show that voters soundly rejected b...

  • Californians did not solve all our state problems at the ballot box Tuesday. Far from it. They did, however, send a signal that could help end our economic nightmare if politicians take heed. On Tuesday, Californians made it clear they reject higher ...

  • The California state budget for years has been “balanced” with heavy borrowing, various kinds of raids on localities and special funds, and transfers from the future to the present. More generally, spending profligacy, high tax rates and ...

  • As bad as the deficit woes of Arizona are – and they are very, very bad – we still have the comfort of knowing that things could always be worse. We could be California. On Tuesday, California voters overwhelmingly rejected five ballot pr...

  • In case anyone thinks that I only ever post negative comments about Gordon Brown (not so, as you can see HERE ), I do agree with today’s positive assessment of his D-Day performance by Clark Judge, a former Reagan speechwriter: ‘Today, British ...

  • New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued in a May 25th column that California’s economic problems are rooted in a dysfunctional government that finds it “extremely hard to raise taxes, even in emergencies.” On May 28, California’s junior Senator,...

  • Governor Schwarzenegger last month announced a first-in-the-nation plan to offer free digital math and science textbooks for high school students. Facing a $24 billion budget deficit, the governor touts the need for “such innovative ways to save mone...

  • How three liberal states got into deep trouble with ‘progressive’ ideas. President Obama has bet the economy on his program to grow the government and finance it with a more progressive tax system. It’s hard to miss the irony that h...

  • Supposedly, trends start in California and then spread to the rest of the country, a notion that seems to be confirmed by the latest economic news. In May, California’s unemployment rate hit 11.5 percent—the highest it has been since 1941. This morni...

  • California’s wallet is empty, as Governor Schwarzenegger says, and the Golden State is staring down the barrel of a $26.3 billion deficit. That has not stopped legislative efforts to expand government, spending, and regulation. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma...

  • Californians work hard and Labor Day will provide them with a much needed break. The festivities, however, should not overshadow a disturbing reality. Nowhere are California’s economic problems more serious than in our labor market. The best known an...

  • PRI’s Lance T. Izumi met former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, at the California Community Colleges 9th annual John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award ceremony. Mr. Izumi is the President of the California Community Colleges Board of Gove...

  • San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom recently wrote a column for the Huffington Post promoting his Healthy San Francisco plan as a model for the federal “public option” touted by President Obama. Healthy San Francisco could be a model, but not in the way...

  • Last week, an investment management and advisory firm comprised of professors from California State University, Sacramento, released a report attempting to estimate the costs to small businesses – and therefore to California’s economy – of implementi...

  • San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wrote a column for the Huffington Post promoting his Healthy San Francisco plan as a model for the federal “public option” touted by President Obama. Healthy San Francisco could be a model, but not in the ...

  • Could things get any worse for California’s economy? State unemployment in June jumped to 11.6 percent — the highest rate on record, and among the top six nationally. Frantic negotiations between Governor Schwarzenegger and Sacramento law...

  • San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom recently wrote a column for the Huffington Post promoting his Healthy San Francisco plan as a model for the federal “public option” touted by President Obama. Healthy San Francisco could be a model, but not in the way...

  • At long last Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the budget, but Californians may want to hold off on any celebration. The blockbuster $84.6 billion deal is packed with accounting tricks that virtually guarantee a sequel of the crisis. A long-term ...

  • Next month, California legislators may have the opportunity for a long-term solution to the Golden State’s notorious boom-bust cycle, currently in its “bust” stage. A state commission launched by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may recommend a flat ta...

  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently wrote a letter to congressional leaders expressing concern about three elements of the looming federal health care take-over: increasing Medicaid costs; wellness, prevention, and quality; and coverag...

  • 550 people leave state each day San Francisco, August 18, 2009 – The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, found that California’s labor performance over the last five years is among the worst performing in t...

  • The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, found that California’s labor performance over the last five years is among the worst performing in the nation, ranking 48th and besting only Michigan and Mississippi...

  • California’s labor performance over the past five years is among the worst in the country, according to research by a San Francisco think tank. The Pacific Research Institute said California ranked better than only Michigan and Mississippi in the thi...

  • It’s commonplace for civic leaders to badmouth the way the state treats small businesses, but now they have something to backup the claims: A research group recently ranked California 48th in the nation in labor performance. The Pacific Researc...

  • (My last post on a long trail of posts about the history of the California rescissions noted that Insurance Commissioner Poizner seems to have learned that some people actually do lie on their health-insurance applications.) Organized medicine’...

  • Your current President is following the exact same path that has been followed by the State of California! If you don’t know, California is the 7th largest economy on the planet…and notice where they have landed…virtual bankruptcy. ...

  • EVEN during an economic meltdown of the proportions being suffered now, base politicking doesn’t stop in California. When asked why Golden State finances have been doing so badly, officials are quick to point to the national recession, claiming...

  • Nevada is running a rather edgy advertising campaign to lure businesses from the Golden State to the Silver State. This could serve as a wakeup call for California, but the response so far is not encouraging. The $1 million campaign from the Nevada D...

  • President Obama’s appointments of Silicon Valley outsiders were only the first indications that his administration would be less than friendly to the high-tech industry, despite campaign promises. Since then, it has shown an inclination toward ...

  • From Senator George Runner From the start, California has enjoyed unique natural economic advantages over other states, from its regional location and deep sea ports to its temperate weather and year-round fertile agricultural land. Our world class u...

  • Under duress from California labor unions and union-backed politicians, the University of California system is funding a labor institute at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses that trains union organizers and produces biased studies to support the ...

  • In the 1985 action film, Commando, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays John Matrix, a commando who uses a little humor when taking revenge on the bad guys, “Remember when I said I’d kill you last… I lied!” Though this is a forgettable...

  • Kevin Dayton of the Associated Builders and Contractors of California hunted down the e-mails chronicling the pressure put on University of California President Mark Yudof to provide taxpayer funds for a bogus labor “think tank” after Arn...

  • San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom last month launched DataSF.org, a new web site designed to improve transparency by disclosing information about city government. Giving residents unfettered access to data such as crime statistics, restaurant inspecti...

  • Republican legislators, usually steadfast against tax hikes, wobbled on this one because the 2.35% tax on health insurers’ gross revenues will replace a 5.5% tax that will expire in October. You would have thought that the fact that 59% to 66% ...

  • The Orange County Register, September 19, 2009 Many readers, especially those who receive large public pensions, will no doubt be thrilled to hear the news. This is the penultimate column I’m writing for the Register as a staff member. I’...

  • I know what every government worker in Orange County is doing right now, this evening of Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009: Getting plastered on expensive booze, paid by their massive tax-funded salaries. They’ll be so hung over tomorrow don’t even try to do wo...

  • Renewable energy that is forced on the California market means higher energy costs for everyone. Renewables are simply more expensive—which is why their proponents have to argue for mandates (and not coincidently, the highest levels of direct subsidy...

  • The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, found that California’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act (EWRA) is a waste of taxpayer dollars. In Fiscal Year 2007-2008, less than half of the facilities audited were ...

  • Epoch Times (New York, New York), October 29, 2009 The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is still being fought out in Congress but according to the Wall Street Journal, several Democrats say they could pass a version of the EFCA this year. On this issu...

  • Easier tax increases and budget approvals seems to be the primary goals of a proposed state constitutional convention. SACRAMENTO — There ain’t no such thing as bipartisan, nondivisive reform. Any real change to California’s dysfunctional...

  • Last month, Christina Romer, professor of economics at UC Berkeley, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, made a presentation at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. In response to a question about whether a so-called “publ...

  • Orange County Register (CA), November 22, 2009 Defenders of government employees’ current retirement system depict critics as haters of government workers who want public “servants” to spend their retirement years eating cat food an...

  • San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 2009 This year marks the 10th anniversary of California’s Public Schools Accountability Act, an early legislative triumph of then-Gov. Gray Davis. While some good things have come out of the law, the act ha...

  • Los Angeles Daily News, December 1, 2009 Roadrunner.com, December 1, 2009 CSU Northridge (CA): December 2, 2009 THE University of California Regents have approved a plan to raise student fees 32 percent over the next year and admit fewer students, th...

  • The economy is struggling, the unemployment rate is high, and many Americans are struggling to pay the bills, but one class of Americans is doing quite well: government workers. Their pay levels are soaring, they enjoy unmatched benefits, and they re...

  • Yes, many readers will notice the title of this post is a silly take-off of one I wrote earlier this year, the start of a rather pointed online exchange between Mr. Greenhut and me. Not today, boy—and I’m not even linking here to that previous....

  • Steven Greenhut, author of “Plunder!” speaks to the Lincoln Club of Orange County about his book on 12/10/2009. For the full version of his presentation, please e-mail us at info@lincolnclub.org to request a DVD copy....

  • California’s recent budget deficits will look bush league relative to the fiscal hurricane that federal health reform will unleash on California and many other states. I made that prediction in this space on December 2, but as we approach 2010 Califo...

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reckons that 15 million more people will enroll in Medicaid if the Senate bill becomes law (p. 8), which is just a whisker less than half the total number of persons the CBO forecasts will be newly insured, 31 mi...

  • Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should have said “I’ll be back” when the state got billions of dollars from the federal government last year. Because on Wednesday, he demanded another handout. In his state of the state speech, Sch...

  • —CalWatchdog.com to Report on Government Waste, Fraud and Abuse— Sacramento—The Pacific Research Institute’s Journalism Center has launched a new California state news and investigative reporting website www.CalWatchdog.com. CalWatchdog provide...

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s final State of the State Address, delivered Wednesday in the Capitol, was a microcosm of his entire failed administration. It was a reminder that those who govern the nation’s most populous state have no clue ...

  • The Flash Report, January 13, 2010 Torres, former legislator and now vice-chair of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which in December tripled his salary from $75,000 to $225,000. California taxpayers will find Mr. Torres’ go...

  • If you really want to be scared, you need to listen to the types of people who are now sounding the alarm bells. I’m a libertarian, and it’s not a surprise to hear me warn about the ill effects of government spending. But listen to......

  • San Francisco Chronicle, January 17, 2009 Steven Greenhut was a constant thorn in the side of California’s public employee unions as a columnist and editorial board member of the Orange County Register. Now he’s moved to Sacramento to ser...

  • SACRAMENTO – Technically speaking, it’s not hard to figure out how to solve California’s permanent fiscal crisis – if you just ignore the political mountains that would have to be moved to implement the fixes. A few good starting points: ...

  • Americans have a deep-seated, inchoate idea that things have gone awry in our Republic, and they’re struggling to give voice to their frustrations. The Senate victory of Scott Brown – an unabashed Republican in the liberal Democratic bastion of...

  • Americans have a deep-seated sense that things have gone awry in our Republic, and they’re struggling to give voice to their frustrations. The victory of Scott Brown —- an unabashed Republican in the liberal Democratic bastion of Massachu...

  • Orange County Register, January 26, 2010 As California and other states scramble for shares of Barack Obama’s $4 billion pot of “Race to the Top” education funds, it’s easy to overlook the recent dagger to the heart dealt by t...

  • In his final state of the state address, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger maintained his vision of California’s bright economic future. Shortly before the governor’s speech, however, another company joined California’s ongoing corporate exodus. T...

  • California started the year by passing two new bills and submitting an application to the federal government to win a piece of the funding pie known as Race to the Top. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed both bills into law on January 7. Both had....

  • California has the unique distinction of being the only state that deploys two regulators of health plans: the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) as well as the Department of Insurance. Unsurprisingly, these departments busy themselves issuing ...

  • There are standards that a single-payer plan could not hope to achieve. Indeed, California’s current government-run health plans can’t achieve them. The new regulations are a result of years of negotiations between HMOs, the government, and self-styl...

  • Events in Washington, D.C. have overshadowed the ongoing fiscal calamity in Sacramento, where earlier this month state legislators basically rejected the governor’s reforms almost as soon as they were released. Despite the uncertainty shrouding the c...

  • One of the best ways to evaluate the merits of any politicians’ proposed new rule or power grab is to first consider whether it’s something you would support if your political foes were in power. Unfortunately, Republican Insurance Commis...

  • SACRAMENTO A new report from the California State Auditor should throw cold water on those who believe that the best way to solve the state’s problems is by expanding government power, increasing government funding and creating new regulatory p...

  • BOSTON/SAN FRANCISCO — A day after President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan laid out an aggressive plan to expand federal control over K-12 academic standards at the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meetings, a new report criticiz...

  • San Francisco Business Times, February 26, 2010 Californians know that a free parking space is hard to find. Such spaces may be even harder to find under SB 518, proposed by state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach). Like much of what emerges from Sac...

  • I simply noted that California has very high tax rates, a bloated and expensive government bureaucracy, and one of the largest public sectors (as measured by government spending as a share of state economic output) in the country. This excellent repo...

  • California’s bond rating is the country’s lowest. The state faces near unprecedented unemployment and underemployment. State government and most counties face deficits for the foreseeable future. The solution to this predicament, some Sac...

  • The stakes are high for Californians when it comes to the health care overhaul, mainly because the coverage problems in this vast state are so large. With a new UCLA study estimating that more than 8 million Californians, or nearly 25 percent of the ...

  • Two years after going broke, the California city still isn’t free of its crushing pension obligations. In 2008, Vallejo, Calif., was nearly broke. Faced with falling tax revenues, rising pension costs, and unmovable public-employee unions, the ...

  • The health “reform” recently signed by President Obama may be expensive and over-regulated but its consumer protection parts are popular. They also turn out to be redundant, even though it’s hard to criticize a law that prevents a health insurer from...

  • Can bankruptcy save California’s cities from staggering pension obligations? As California cities and counties struggle to fulfill the generous pay and pension commitments that they made to public employees during flush economic times, some politicia...

  • California’s rigorous academic content standards are one of the few bright spots on the state’s otherwise dismal education landscape. Now, however, President Obama’s drive to nationalize education could doom the standards. Created in the late 1990s, ...

  • Read the PDF study San Francisco—The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in San Francisco, found that California ranked dead last in a combined measure of the state’s tax burden and tax structure according to the ne...

  • California’s tax system, comparisons with other states, and the path to reform in the Golden State San Francisco—The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in San Francisco, found that California ranked dead last in a ...

  • Every April California workers square up with the federal and state governments. This April deadline is a good time to grade the Golden State on its tax policy, which not only takes a lot of money from workers but manages to do so in a......

  • California has one of the nation’s highest levels of government spending and taxes, and it adversely affects the state’s economic competitiveness, according to a new report by the conservative, San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institu...

  • The Golden State? More like Taxifornia. As the pain of April 15 fades, most Americans are bluntly aware that taxes matter. Too many politicians and bureaucrats, unfortunately, ignore this. They have forgotten that taxes change the incentives for peop...

  • The California state government has taken important steps to improving the management of public information technology assets, but this study concludes that tougher policy reforms are needed to protect taxpayer dollars and personal privacy. Californi...

  • First 16 projects cost $471 million but deliver only $382 million in short-term financial benefits San Francisco – The California state government has taken important steps to improving the management of public information technology assets, but a ne...

  • Last month, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released its California Health Insurance Survey, and the media promptly sounded the alarm. According to the March 16 Los Angeles Times, “nearly 1 in 4 Californians under age 65 had no health insu...

  • Students living outside the illustrious 90210 zip code have been allowed to attend Beverly Hills Unified schools through an “opportunity permits” program. That opportunity came to an abrupt end in January when the Beverly Hills school board voted to ...

  • Voters in North Orange County on June 8 will fill the Fourth Supervisorial District seat vacated by Chris Norby when he was elected to the state Assembly to replace Mike Duvall, of sex-scandal fame. Most residents probably don’t think too much ...

  • From fiscal failure to green destructiveness to an utter lack of courage when it would have mattered most, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure in office has not been an exercise in analytic rigor. But on one proposal – the sale and leaseback of...

  • Deficits: We’ve been hard on Arnold Schwarzenegger in recent months, but we’re foursquare behind the California governor in his effort to balance the state’s budget without raising taxes. The Golden State’s $18.6 billion budge...

  • Orange County Register, May 12, 2010 If you prefer as little tax burden as possible, you will cringe to learn that California ranks in a tie for last place with South Carolina and New York. But if you delight in the idea of government taxing......

  • Historically, California officials have struggled to manage effectively the state’s massive, decentralized $3 billion IT (information technology) network. In recent years, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has used the state’s IT Strategic Plan as a gui...

  • SACRAMENTO Few things are more ironic, and infuriatingly funny, than listening to California’s notoriously ham-fisted redevelopment agencies complain about the state’s “theft” of redevelopment funds. Last week, California cities had to co...

  • By John R. Graham, director of Health Care Studies Santa Clara County, California: Sheriff’s deputies raid a fast-food restaurant, line up a dozen workers against the wall, and block the doors. The manager nervously tries to assure that everything is...

  • California voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 14, which replaces traditional partisan primaries in state and Congressional races. Starting in 2011, candidates for an office would be on a single ballot, regardless of political affiliation, and the...

  • A political candidate can take on the public-employee unions in a nasty street rumble and emerge bloodied but victorious. That’s the message from Tuesday’s election to fill a board of supervisors seat in Orange County, Calif. It was a rac...

  • Two years after Vallejo made history as the first city in the Golden State to file for bankruptcy, voters have grasped the city’s dire financial situation even if some members of local government haven’t. Residents appeared to have approv...

  • ...

  • SACRAMENTO—From Susanville to San Diego, California cities are struggling financially but now face more bad news. Assembly Bill 155, by Tony Mendoza, Artesia Democrat, would prevent California cities from filing for federal bankruptcy protection. The...

  • “One cannot be both a progressive and be opposed to pension reform,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top pension adviser, David Crane, said during a pension-reform hearing May 10. “The math is irrefutable that the losers from exc...

  • California is pursuing an IT Strategic Plan, the official state blueprint for improving citizen and internal services through technology investments. Though launched with good intentions, the plan could benefit from some revision and more input from ...

  • SACRAMENTO – As usual, American policy-makers, the media and California’s political candidates avoid the big issues while they make a huge deal out of the small stuff. The latest example is Afghanistan, where Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. a...

  • Anyone wanting a preview of Obama-Care need just focus on Massachusetts, the state that provided the blueprint for Obama’s plan. It makes a great case for making haste in repealing ObamaCare. In Massachusetts, health care prices are out of cont...

  • Under ObamaCare, those who believe the government should decide how much medical care you deserve, and how it should be delivered, are eager to impose their preferences nationwide. Nurses’ unions lead the charge, armed with a recent study that could ...

  • SACRAMENTO – “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary,” observed the journalist, critic and s...

  • SACRAMENTO – I’d been starting to wonder about whether there are any true progressives left in California, until I heard about Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s public defender. Many people describe themselves as progressive, mind you, but few...

  • Steven Greenhut, Editor in Chief of CalWatchdog.com and author of the new book, Plunder! How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation sat down with Reason.tv’s Ted Balaker to discuss the wi...

  • Vol. 16 No. 28 July 21, 2010 Is it “bigotry” to shrink state government? By K. Lloyd Billingsley, editorial director SACRAMENTO—Those who believe California state government is too large, and that we ought to make it smaller, are guilty of “conventio...

  • SACRAMENTO—California is staring down the barrel of a $19 billion budget deficit, huge debt, and an unemployment rate in excess of 12 percent. Legislators can help the state recover by enacting the lawsuit reforms California desperately needs. The qu...

  • SACRAMENTO – It’s always entertaining watching various tax consumers fight with one another over a shrinking revenue pie, which makes the Proposition 22 campaign a spectacle. Despite the chatter from supporters about “saving local service...

  • ...

  • SACRAMENTO – As entertainment goes, the final regular-season episode of the Budget Show in the Capitol was shoddy. The actors – the Assembly members and senators – are B-rate. The speeches, despite their strained attempts to sound Kennedy-esque, were...

  • As legislators finished their session and scattered to their home districts this week without a realistic budget plan and two months after the deadline for approving a budget, one cannot help but wonder if our elected leaders truly grasp the depths o...

  • ...

  • The G.O.P. in California has had to rely on candidates who can finance themselves. NO MONEY, NO MOVEMENT California is home to a large and energetic Tea Party movement but the state’s activists have not had much effect on the current election cycle. ...

  • One of President Reagan’s most famous quotes was his appeal to Soviet Communist Party Chairman Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!” Governor Schwarzenegger has a similar opportunity to prevent a wall that limits people’s freedom from being built in th...

  • It’s easy to conclude that California may become, as former state librarian Kevin Starr put it, a “failed state.” It’s just too big, unruly and diverse to be effectively governed, commentators frequently say. SACRAMENTO – It&#...

  • A group of California legislators and community leaders recently met on the steps of the state capitol to protest Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget cuts. The group charged that these budget cuts disproportionately affect women, but the...

  • Steven Greenhut may be the most annoying man in America. No, it’s not because he’s a mean guy or that he has created some silly reality show like Jersey Shores. It’s because Steve, a former Orange County Register columnist, writes books that you need...

  • Huge deficits and mounting debt. Increasing concern about creditworthiness. Large and growing government. Constant calls for higher taxes. High unemployment and a discouraged, even fearful, business community. Welcome to California. If you thought we...

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two bills that he touts as reforms to “provide affordable and quality health care insurance.” In reality, Senate Bill 900 and Assembly Bill 1602 create a new bureaucracy — outside the normal controls ...

  • When it comes to taxes, regulations and government spending, California is losing ground to Texas, according to a new study by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The Competitive States 2010: Texas vs. California report is a follow up to a similar on...

  • Laffer: “In several key areas, California’s economy has become even less competitive than before” AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Not only does California’s economic climate continue to lag behind that o...

  • When it comes to taxes, regulations and government spending, California is losing ground to Texas, according to a new study by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The Competitive States 2010: Texas vs. California report is a follow-up to a similar on...

  • SACRAMENTO At Jerry Brown’s briefing Wednesday to discuss the dismal condition of the state budget, now plagued by a $25 billion deficit, the incoming governor said, “Everything should be on the table, and everyone should be at the table ...

  • Last month, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul of the New America Foundation came to Sacramento to promote their new book, California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It. Few if any in the audience at the University of California....

  • When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pared nearly a billion dollars from the state budget, Democratic politicians and liberal groups cried foul and said they’d attempt to undo the cuts in health and social services when the Legislature returns to Sa...

  • San Francisco— California government can do more with fewer taxpayer dollars, according to a new study released today by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in San Francisco. No Bang for the Taxpayer’s Buck: Why Calif...

  • California Government Spending The estimate for California’s total state spending in 2009–10 is $125.1 billion, of which General Fund spending constitutes 69.1 percent. Total state spending (nominal) has increased from $75.3 billion in 1998–99 to $12...

  • SACRAMENTO – While trying to get the assembled, clueless staff at a phone store to tell me how to turn off an annoying e-mail alarm on my new smart phone, I was finally greeted by a manager, who declared that the phone is supposed to......

  • Last week the Democratic leader of the state Senate said the state should provide child care for people no longer on welfare, among $470 million worth of other social services. Consequently, Sen. Darrell Steinberg said, in January he will attempt to ...

  • California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently warned that if voters approve a November initiative legalizing marijuana, the state will become a national “laughingstock.” The only thing more prevalent than non-Californians poking fun at the state...

  • The “w” word used by a Jerry Brown strategist to describe Meg Whitman’s alleged sellout on her pension reform proposals to public safety unions that are endorsing her dominated much of the coverage of the Oct. 12 debate. But far mor...

  • State of California General Fund Tax Revenue, Fiscal Year 2010 July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010 up 5.6% from FY 2009 Source: California State Controller (p. 12) $86.58 billion California Tax Facts 2011 – Revenue Sour Personal Income Taxes $44.83 bi...

  • What does voter anger at pension payouts and government spending mean for candidates who rely on the support of public employees? Steven Greenhut is the director of the Pacific Research Institute’s Journalism Center and the author of “Plu...

  • As the November election approaches, Californians don’t need to be reminded of the dismal state of the Golden State. The state’s economic misery permeates Californians’ daily lives. Our headline unemployment is 12.4 percent, third-highest in the coun...

  • A study two years ago found that California substantially lagged behind Texas economically, based on the two states’ taxes, regulatory policies and government spending. That study, performed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, recently was u...

  • Proposition 23, on next Tuesday’s ballot, would suspend the implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) until the state unemployment rate, now 12.4 percent, declines to 5.5 percent for four quarters. A new study publ...

  • In instance after instance, Washington has mimicked the failed policies of the Golden State. For the sake of the nation, it’s time Washington stopped following California and started heading in a new direction. Between the budget and legislation such...

  • With the gubernatorial election tomorrow, Jerry Brown appears to have opened up a sizeable lead. Women are emerging as a bulwark of support for Brown, as they favor him by 21 points, according to the latest Los Angeles Times/USC poll. That’s surprisi...

  • Interview: PRI Research Director Jason Clemens San Francisco- California government can do more with fewer taxpayer dollars, according to a new study released today by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in San Franci...

  • Republicans have been amused by President Barack Obama’s thick-headed response to the Democratic Party’s electoral defeat. Despite near-historic gains for the GOP in the House of Representatives and significant GOP gains in the Senate and...

  • Buried under the political headlines in California, which largely focus on Jerry Brown’s gubernatorial victory, Barbara Boxer’s winning a fourth Senate term and the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, lie two ballot decis...

  • An expert on healthcare policy thinks ObamaCare must fail in at least one state at taxpayers’ expense before Democrats realize it won’t work. California will lead the nation in implementing the new healthcare law with a $10-billion plan, ...

  • Last week’s election, ushering in Jerry Brown as Governor-elect and changing passage of the state budget from two-thirds to a majority vote, will impact how legislators reconcile California’s budget deficit. Missing in the debate between higher taxes...

  • Jerry Brown had fantastic economic policy, Laffer said. “He did a great job implementing Proposition 13. He indexed personal income tax in the state; put in Gann spending limit under his tenure; and killed the estate tax. He was one of the best gover...

  • Arthur Laffer, one of the more prescient economists of our time and an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, has been a longtime proponent of keeping money in the hands of those who earn it because they are best able to spend in ways that stimulate......

  • The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) just invested $500 million in market-traded green energy firms, which brings the agency’s investments in clean energy stocks and funds since 2006 to $2.5 billion. A purchasing behemot...

  • On Thursday night last week, supply-side luminary Arthur Laffer spoke to the Pacific Research Institute’s annual dinner in San Francisco. Laffer is among the most consequential economists of the last half century. Though lampooned and denounced...

  • Anyone who has dealt with a loved one deeply involved in some destructive behavior understands that there is only so much you can do until the person hits whatever low point is necessary to spark a commitment to turn around their life. I think of......

  • Never-ending deficits and unemployment at 12-percent-plus are just two illustrations of a seriously sick California economy. Many sensible solutions have been discarded out of hand because of the power of public-sector unions. The challenge for state...

  • SACRAMENTO – We’re about to witness a new twist on Sacramento’s annual high-stakes budget game. Many Capitol observers believe that incoming Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats, who no longer need GOP budget support thanks to the No...

  • The Medi-Cal system in California is flawed in a basic way, according to researcher Stephen Moses of Pacific Research Institute, a California-based think tank. “Instead of Medi-Cal being a safety net for the poor,” he said, “it prov...

  • Human Events had it right in 2005 when it named Sally Pipes one of the “Top 10 Women in the Conservative Movement.” As president and CEO of Pacific Research Institute (PRI), Pipes has become an essential voice in the health-care debate, f...

  • As a new governor takes over amid a flurry of promises and activity, and the tired, boring old governor exits the scene, it’s easy to forget that the old guy also came in amid a torrent of activity and interest. Jerry Brown is talking about......

  • Gov. Jerry Brown’s fiscal 2011-12 budget aims to close the state’s projected $26.4 billion deficit with a combination of tax measures and targeted spending cuts. While a welcome change from gimmicks that only defer the problem, the budget...

  • This really could be the beginning of the end for the state’s redevelopment agencies, those noxious, corporate-welfare-enabling entities that have wreaked havoc on property rights in California since the 1950s. The new governor’s budget p...

  • Read the rest of the post at National Review Online....

  • As Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped down as governor of California, he could behold two dispiriting sights: a state struggling with structural budget deficits, just as it had struggled when he marched into office as a conquering action hero, and an appr...

  • At a League of California Cities event in Sacramento, Gov. Jerry Brown promised local officials struggling under the weight of pay and benefit costs that he would, indeed, put forward pension-reform proposals in the coming weeks. Yet I see little evi...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated the office of the state secretary of education, but aside from that symbolic and inconsequential act, his proposed education budget for 2011-12 contains no real reform ideas. California’s new chief executive should u...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State speech Monday night was pretty much what anyone should have expected, as the new governor championed his “tough choices” budget and pushed hard for its centerpiece: a public vote on controversia...

  • People increasingly want answers for how California can solve its fiscal problems, but I rarely have good news to offer. Last week, I wrote about three Assembly Republicans who attended a “no more cuts” rally sponsored by the Service Empl...

  • Nine of California’s big-city mayors met recently with Gov. Jerry Brown in an attempt to talk him out of eliminating redevelopment agencies (RDAs) as part of his budget-balancing proposal. The mayors support keeping RDAs intact because they believe i...

  • As conflicts rage across the Midwest between state governments intent on solving their budget crises and public-sector unions trying to protect the status quo, there has been a worrisome calmness in Sacramento. This is a sure sign that California lea...

  • Republican efforts to trade a tax vote for a fiscal reform vote are going nowhere fast, as Gov. Jerry Brown continues to prove that he is the best $30 million investment that the state’s public employee unions ever could have made. That’s the amount ...

  • Forced to choose between funding public schools and subsidizing ritzy golf courses, many California officials prefer the latter. That’s become painfully clear in the past few weeks as Golden State politicians have fiercely opposed Gov. Jerry Br...

  • To counter the powerful incentives facing elected and appointed public-sector officials and government employees to conceal information and operations, “sunshine laws” have been enacted to open the doors of government so the public can view the debat...

  • During National Sunshine Week, the public continues to be outraged by the lavish salaries taken by former city officials in Bell. Fortunately, the city can teach important lessons on how to improve California’s transparency laws. The Bell scand...

  • At a recent California community colleges board meeting, Gov. Jerry Brown said transparency is key to increasing voter trust in government and would help pass his tax-extension plan. He’s right, but national sunshine week slipped by without Bro...

  • The most disappointing news on the Obamacare front these days is that at least two Republican governors cannot wait to implement Obamacare in their states. Apparently, one Republican state senator in Oklahoma has finally decided to prevent an Obamaca...

  • The city of San Diego has long been the poster child for pension abuse, but now it has a chance to become the statewide poster child for pension reform thanks to a ballot measure that top officials are circulating. San Diego’s efforts should be heart...

  • Californians sweating to complete tax returns by April 15 may be unaware that another milestone occurs the very next day. California’s Tax Freedom Day will arrive on April 16. This should trouble Californians for a number of reasons. For the na...

  • Last month Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist with the UCLA Anderson Project, held forth at the University of California Sacramento Center on key themes involving recession and recovery. Nickelsburg agrees that we are in a “deep recession,” in contr...

  • SACRAMENTO — Last week Assembly Speaker John Perez suspended the public notice rule for legislative hearings, allowing an Assembly committee to conduct a surprise hearing on a “card check” bill, and voted to pass it to the next committee. That is not...

  • California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 2x by Joe Simitian, mandating that 33 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2020, an increase of 13 percent from the previous mandate of 20 percent. This signals bad news for C...

  • California legislators are considering a bill, AB 52, that would give the executive branch the power to decide whether health plans should be allowed to increase their premiums at rates that keep pace with medical costs. Health plans may be a politic...

  • Last month The Economist ran a cover story: “Where it all went wrong: A special report on California’s dysfunctional democracy.” The report blames “direct democracy,” the initiative process, for the state’s woes. The ruling class loves the report, bu...

  • The city of Bell pay scandal highlighted serious flaws in California’s open-government laws. Now a proposed constitutional change wants the people to guarantee more sunshine to the Golden State. That’s how government openness was achieved...

  • SACRAMENTO Last weekend I watched one of my favorite movies, “Total Recall,” a 1990 sci-fi flick based on a Philip K. Dick novel and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Is Schwarzenegger’s character an intergalactic double agent who sav...

  • When California governor Jerry Brown announced details last month of a two-year contract that he’d negotiated with California’s prison guards’ union, you could practically hear the sighs of disappointment from stalwarts who had hoped that the 73-year...

  • The Social Networking Privacy Act (SB 242), authored by state senator Ellen Corbett‚ a San Leandro Democrat‚ would force any social networking site to make new users choose their privacy settings when they register and make the default settings priva...

  • In the Assembly last week, legislators praised ethnic studies departments and had long-winded debates before voting to ban the trading of shark fins in California. But while state government becomes ever-more meddlesome in ever-expanding areas of pri...

  • Doug Tessitor is the mayor of Glendora, a city in Los Angeles County. He’s a self-described conservative and dead certain that preserving California’s redevelopment agencies (RDAs) is essential to his city’s fiscal health. In a pair of recent online ...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent talk to the California State Association of Counties was more meandering and disjointed than usual, but the governor stuck to his talking points: Unless California voters approve tax extensions, they must get used to greatly...

  • An appeals court has ruled that a public agency must hand over pension data to a newspaper. This is a welcome development but a recent case confirms that California remains far behind the curve on government transparency. The Sacramento Bee has been ...

  • Hours before the Wednesday midnight deadline for passing a state budget, legislative Democrats rammed through a ridiculous, gimmick-laden, majority-vote spending plan that failed to reform anything and failed to impress Gov. Jerry Brown, who wisely v...

  • The California Legislature just passed a budget. Less than 24 hours later, the governor vetoed it, leaving many scratching their heads why Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a budget from his own party. “For the first time in history, the state budget has been ...

  • It’s a short law with big potential: SB 5596, signed by governor Christine Gregoire at the end of May, is only three pages long. Nevertheless it puts Washington State on a path to Medicaid solvency and sets an example for California and the nation. R...

  • A series of bills pending in California’s state legislature would severely curtail the use of voters’ initiatives and referenda—and have already sparked a long-overdue debate about the virtues of direct democracy. Advocates for reform make some valid...

  • Many states are passing progressive legislation to empower parents and students with choice in education. California, on the other hand, is considering legislation that ignores the needs of students and makes the most powerful anti-choice force in th...

  • The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has chosen financier Jonathan Thomas as its new boss — but it matters little who runs the state stem-cell agency. The focus should be on results, and by that standard, Californians do no...

  • In June, several California legislators complained about having their pay cut by state Controller John Chiang because the budget they submitted by the June 15 constitutional deadline — the only deadline they seem to care about — was unbalanced. This ...

  • On Memorial Day, a suicidal man waded into San Francisco Bay outside the city of Alameda and stood there for about an hour, neck deep in chilly water, as about 75 bystanders watched. Local police and firefighters were dispatched to the scene after th...

  • Never has it been more evident that California is in a downward spiral on the verge of economic, social and political collapse — San Francisco is now pushing to make convicted criminals a protected class so that prospective employers cannot inquire a...

  • In the state Capitol, bills hostile to charter schools, which are deregulated public schools independent of school districts, have snaked their way through the Legislature. If they reach Jerry Brown’s desk, it will be interesting to see what th...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to nominate UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court is a highly partisan poke in the eye at Republicans, given that GOP congressional criticisms led Liu, in May, to withdraw his name fro...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to nominate Berkeley Law Professor Goodwin Liu to California’s Supreme Court is a highly partisan poke in the eye at Republicans, given that GOP congressional criticisms led Liu, in May, to withdraw his name from contentio...

  • Last year a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that California welfare “clients” were using their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to spend millions at Las Vegas casinos and on cruise ships to hardship destinations such as Rio de Janeir...

  • Are newspaper reporters still necessary? When the Los Angeles Times broke the story of corruption in Bell, California, where the city manager was collecting $1.5 million in annual compensation, it felt like vindication for the institutional press and...

  • In the State Capitol, bills hostile to charter schools, which are deregulated public schools independent of school districts, have snaked their way through the Legislature. If they reach Jerry Brown’s desk, it will be interesting to see what th...

  • As someone who chronicles the political goings-on in California, I rarely offer encouraging news for those who believe in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom. Nevertheless, readers frequently implore me ...

  • Last year, a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that California welfare “clients” were using their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to spend millions at casinos and on cruise ships to hardship destinations such as Rio de Janeiro. Califo...

  • An investigation last month by CalWatchDog.com, which I edit, revealed that at least one of the 14 commissioners in charge of drawing new district lines for California’s elected representatives had made multiple political campaign contributions to De...

  • The Legislative Goofball of The Session Award goes to Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, for Senate Bill 432, which mandates that hotels use fitted sheets rather than unfitted sheets on mattresses. Other legislators have promoted more damaging and fa...

  • Offering up what appeared to be a campaign speech, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addressed the Sacramento Press Club today, repeatedly blasting the Tea Party and Republicans, and even went after California’s Proposition 13 with a vengeance. ...

  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s speech Tuesday at the Sacramento Press Club left many reporters wondering what the mayor is doing and what he is running for next. It seems odd for an L.A. mayor to fly to Sacramento, give a speech detai...

  • Across America, state after state has enacted bold, far-reaching systemic education reforms. In contrast, California has not only failed to enact such fundamental reforms, but has actually gone backwards and passed laws that reduce accountability, pr...

  • When the taxpayer is backing up the entire liability for the pensions received by members of the California Public Employees Retirement System, then CalPERS officials are exuberant about the stock market. They insist that a predicted rate of return o...

  • When the taxpayer is backing up the entire liability for the massive pensions received by public employees who are part of the California Public Employees Retirement System, then CalPERS officials are exuberant about the stock market. They insist tha...

  • California’s “Jobs Gap” with the rest of America jumped to a record high, according to new calculations. In 2010, I devised the “Jobs Gap” to measure how much worse unemployment is in California than the rest of America....

  • Fresno schools Superintendent Larry Powell has been getting the hero treatment in the national media for his reportedly selfless decision to give up his annual salary/benefits of $290,000 a year and instead take $31,000 in salary only. He’s doi...

  • It’s “gut and amend” season in the California Legislature. More like shuck and jive and obfuscate. Last week, I received information that another bill had been gutted of its original intent, and new language added to greatly benefit labor unions. By ...

  • Yet another study has debunked the notion that vaccines cause autism. Late last month, a committee of 18 highly respected doctors, professors, legal experts and epidemiologists empanelled by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed more than 1,000 pe...

  • Common wisdom, embraced by many on the left and on the right, holds that California governor Jerry Brown is a most unconventional politician. Brown’s otherworldly attitude, quick wit, and unpredictable utterances have served him well throughout his l...

  • Breathe a deep sigh of relief now that state legislators have headed home. As Judge Gideon Tucker (and also attributed to Mark Twain) exclaimed, “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” You a...

  • San Francisco officials ought to be looking out for the best interests of The City’s taxpayers and assuring that hard-pressed public services remain well-funded, but instead, they are protecting city unions, particularly the police and fire, by engag...

  • Solyndra, the Fremont solar-panel manufacturer that went belly up last week, was the subject of a hearing Wednesday all the way in the nation’s capital. Lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Committee on Oversight and Investigations...

  • It’s time for Gov. Jerry Brown to release his inner libertarian. I know. This sounds nuts, or born of wishful thinking. The governor has spent his first months in office advocating more government spending and protecting the ravenous public-sec...

  • A coalition of 26 states filed a petition recently asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. California should have been the 27th. That’s because no state s...

  • If you want to understand the fundamental things wrong with our nation and California, in particular, you ought to peruse the 140-page opinion recently issued by Judge Oliver Wanger in the “Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases.” It describes ma...

  • The nation’s two largest pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, have been plagued by myriad fiscal problems, and even a corruption scandal in the case of CalPERS, and ye...

  • There’s a grassroots parent revolt surging in California. Parents statewide and at the local level are pushing ballot measures to overturn unpopular government education policies. While the initiative process may be Democracy 101 in action, it would ...

  • As the legislative session came to an end, some Capitol observers expressed a glimmer of hope that Gov. Jerry Brown would be the independent, reform-minded governor that he swore he would be when he ran for office. After the governor argued that not ...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown wants to increase sales and income taxes in a quest to “find another $10 billion” in revenue. He will have to craft a plan soon to get it on the 2012 ballot. To help California’s struggling economy, any tax proposals should be......

  • According to Katy Grimes of the Sacramento-based investigative reporting website Cal Watchdog for October 19, “For unions, Governor Jerry Brown is the governor who keeps on giving.” Over the weekend, the California Governor signed into la...

  • Long before any of 800 bills passed by the Legislature reached Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk this legislative session, partisan politics took precedence over repairing the state’s economy. Apparently restoring confidence and faith in California’s residents...

  • To outsiders, liberal San Francisco may seem preoccupied with leftist protesters occupying prime real estate in the Financial District or with debating proper restaurant etiquette for the city’s small but flagrant nudist population, or until recently...

  • A mentally ill homeless man was beaten into a coma that proved fatal by six Fullerton police officers as he screamed, “Help, dad!” Fresno police punched a homeless man in the head while he was face down with his arms behind his back. Thre...

  • As California’s unemployment rate hovers above 12 percent, even the state’s Democratic leaders – notorious for regulating, taxing and complaining about California’s business community – are talking about jobs. They are championing t...

  • President Obama’s plan to change federal lending rules so people who are under water in their mortgages can refinance will make a political point about Republican intransigence on his jobs package but won’t sway many voters. The truth: the housing ma...

  • If there was any doubt about the economic success of state-mandated green programs, it was erased this week after a state Senate hearing about the future of alternate fuels. By the end of the four-hour session, it was clear that environmental special...

  • The nearly five-hour drive from the Sacramento area to Yreka, in Siskiyou County by the Oregon border, was a reminder not just of the immense size and beauty of California, but of the vast regional and cultural differences one finds within our 37-mil...

  • It’s been 20 years since biologist Jonathan L. Atwood authored a study declaring the California gnatcatcher a distinct subspecies. Based on Atwood’s conclusion, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993 listed the small blue-gray songbird as “threat...

  • Despite some encouraging details in Gov. Jerry Brown’s recently announced pension-reform proposal, there’s virtually no chance the state will seriously reform — or even seriously attempt to reform — a system creaking under the weight of about $500 bi...

  • Despite some encouraging details in California Gov. Jerry Brown’s recently announced pension-reform proposal, there’s virtually no chance the state will seriously reform—or even seriously attempt to reform—a system creaking under the weight of about ...

  • We all know that California’s Democratic Party is running the state into the ground fiscally, given how beholden its legislators and elected officials are to public sector unions and how devoted they are to expanding government and raising taxe...

  • We all know that California’s Democratic Party is running the state into the fiscal ground, given how beholden its members are to public sector unions and how devoted they are to expanding government and raising taxes. The state needs some political ...

  • If there’s one area where California, the home of Silicon Valley, should be an education leader, it’s digital learning. However, a new national report card finds California lagging in expanding the use of digital technology, such as inter...

  • The late Steve Jobs thought highly of the California public schools he attended in the 1960s and early 1970s, according to the new biography of him by Walter Isaacson. The schools must have done something right to stir the mind of our age’s gen...

  • California Republicans did a fine job playing the pension-reform hand that Gov. Jerry Brown handed them. On Nov. 9, Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton and three of his GOP colleagues held a news conference calling for the Democrat-controlled Legisla...

  • The Texas jobs miracle has received a lot of attention since Rick Perry announced his candidacy for president in August. The numbers are impressive. Texas added 1.2 million net jobs since Perry took office as Texas Governor in December 2000, while th...

  • Californians are a little schizophrenic on how they look on the state’s public schools, based on the findings of a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of registered voters. On raising taxes, including their own, 64 percent said they would d...

  • Would California be in better shape if former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger or Gray Davis, or former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, were back in power? That’s an odd question given the fiscal mess that those politicians helped create, or at least w...

  • I can’t forgive myself for voting for Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor during the 2003 recall. I selected a “winnable” loser rather than Tom McClintock, a principled conservative who knew what policies to pursue to right Californi...

  • “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike,” wrote John Muir, in one of his many celebrations of the majesty of the Yosemite Valley. The Scottish-born founde...

  • As the public employee pension and health care benefit crisis sweeps across the nation, some states are dealing seriously with these multibillion-dollar threats to public services and treasuries. And other states remain in deep denial. California, to...

  • Earlier this fall, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that five international high-tech companies had entered into investment agreements, totaling $4.4 billion, with the state. The governor boasted that the agreements would make New York “the e...

  • The rich are getting richer and everyone else is losing wealth. This phenomenon supposedly would justify more aggressive government policies redistributing wealth. At an Assembly hearing Wednesday about whether the state of California should be activ...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown last Monday released “An Open Letter to the People of California,” in which he called for the state’s taxpayers to approve tax-raising initiatives to “fix” the state’s structural deficit. Here is t...

  • This PRI video documentary examines the online learning movement in education in California....

  • The approval rating for the job done by the California Legislature remains pitiful, ranging in the past year or so from a record-low 9 percent to 16 percent. That percentage of Californians would no doubt support any possible idea you place before th...

  • The approval rating for the job the California Legislature is doing remains pitiful, ranging in the past year or so from a record-low 9 percent to 16 percent. That percentage of Californians will no doubt support any possible idea you place before th...

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica published an investigative report Wednesday into how Democratic political operatives influenced California’s independent redistricting commission. National media outlets lavished praise on the piece, describing it as...

  • The United States and California in particular are continuing down a dangerous path where more decisions about almost everything in life are made by government officials rather than by individual citizens. That’s a fancy way of saying that we are los...

  • California Democrats are so controlled by the public sector unions that they won’t even tolerate truth-telling by fellow Democrats, as evidenced by the end of David Crane’s tenure as a University of California regent. Crane is a true prog...

  • Over the summer, the website I edit, CalWatchdog, published a series of articles documenting the way that the political Left exploited the redistricting process in California to assure strong gains for the Democratic Party. The report included an exc...

  • I’m still giddy after the California Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 29 that the state had every right to shut down those noxious enemies of property rights and fiscal responsibility known as redevelopment agencies. Better yet, the state’s high court rul...

  • California’s redevelopment agencies were corrupt and had to go. But it’s hardly obvious that re-empowering local officials with “new and improved” economic development authority is a wise idea. Don’t misunderstand. It wa...

  • California legislators never have enough time, and always lack the vision, to deal appropriately with the state’s pressing budget and infrastructure problems. But they are great at self-aggrandizement and at catering to the special-interest groups th...

  • An education analyst says the governor of California is allowing voters to make the tough choices in light of the state’s economic woes. Governor Jerry Brown (D) is giving voters in The Golden State the option of either raising taxes or having ...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown said in his State of the State address that the so-called “declinists,” those who worry about California’s place in the nation and the world, are wrong. He pointed to areas where the state is supposedly ahead of riv...

  • It’s National School Choice Week and governors and legislators in a number of states have proposed increasing schooling options for low-income students attending low-performing schools. While commendable, it’s important to point out that student unde...

  • During the State of the Union, President Obama called for a new era of responsibility, and declared that there will be “no bailouts,” yet he offered a supposed solution for the ongoing mortgage crisis that rewards irresponsibility by promising even m...

  • Bankruptcy is the boogeyman haunting governments across America. It’s not a question of whether more cities will file for bankruptcy, but how many. The culprit is a decade of over-spending by governments, especially on pension guarantees, and an econ...

  • State of the Union addresses provide insight into the vision of America embraced by the president, and in that regard Tuesday’s address by President Barack Obama didn’t disappoint. He envisions a country where the federal government prote...

  • While many Americans are eager for the U.S. Supreme Court this year to decide the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, a federal judge in Los Angeles has just made a misguided decision that cuts right to the root ...

  • Once upon a time buying a municipal bond was considered a safe bet. A decent rate of return with little risk ­– just the thing for junior’s college fund and grandma’s retirement account. But that was before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. ...

  • The problem in the public sector is that government never is allowed to fail. There never is a day of reckoning no matter how poorly government provides its so-called services I recently documented how the state’s pro-union attorney general, Ka...

  • In early February, we had the privilege of hosting Dr. Art Laffer at PRI’s Ronald Reagan Centennial Tribute in Orange County. At this event, we were pleased to announce that Dr. Laffer had agreed to work with us on a new California Recovery Project, ...

  • Dr. Laffer Proposes a 5.8% Flat Tax for All Californians San Francisco – The Pacific Research Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Sacramento, today released a new book by economist Art Laffer on how to t...

  • Key Points: Governor Jerry Brown and California legislators have attempted to get Medi-Cal’s budget under control by charging reasonable co-pays for medical and hospital services, especially emergency rooms. Secretary Sebelius has just quashed the st...

  • We take selective note of bills signed or vetoed the past week by Gov. Jerry Brown. Commendably, the governor vetoed Senate Bill 1235, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. It would have required the state superintendent of pub...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown just enacted a $91.3 billion budget measure to close California’s $16 billion deficit. After pleading with legislators to approve billions of dollars in spending cuts, he’s asking voters to approve major tax increases in ...

  • Gov. Jerry Brown just signed bills finalizing California’s budget and closing the Golden State’s $16 billion budget deficit. But the governor’s budget is contingent on voters approving a proposed $8.5 billion tax hike at the ballot ...

  • It’s become a cliché that whenever governments want more money from taxpayers, officials insist the added burden must be borne “for the children.” With 50 years in the game, Gov. Jerry Brown knows that clichés work. So, Thursday he ...

  • Even if Mitt Romney is elected president and gets rid of Obamacare, we might be stuck with some variation of it here in California. That’s what’s behind Gov. Jerry Brown this week calling a special session of the California Legislature to...

  • The head of a California research organization says Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is planning to keep ObamaCare intact in his state, even if it is reversed under Mitt Romney’s leadership. Brown plans to hold a special legislative session in December on ...

  • WITH teachers in Chicago on strike, it’s tempting for Californians to view it as a phenomenon of the rough-and-tumble politics of the Windy City with little application to the Golden State. True, some issues, such as the high wage demands of th...

  • With the passage of California’s Assembly Bill 32, the Golden State has embarked upon an experiment in energy policy that has no modern parallel. Several recent studies have shown that the consequences to the state could be dire, and that Calif...

  • Supporters of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike ballot measure, Proposition 30, argue that the added tax revenues are needed so schools can, among other things, turn out high-achieving students. The head of the San Diego teachers union claims that without ...

  • California’s state and local politicians are failing their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers. As the taxpayers’ agents, California’s politicians should be establishing compensation policies that are generous enough to attrac...

  • California’s voters will soon consider two ballot initiatives that aim to reduce the state’s unsustainable spending on prisons. The cost of jail is punishing – and not just for the prisoners. Incarcerating an inmate runs an average of $47...

  • As Gov. Jerry Brown scurries around the state to save Proposition 30, his ballot measure to increase state sales and income taxes, voters are expressing skepticism that the tax revenues raised by the initiative will be spent wisely. They have reason ...

  • New Report on Controlling Rising Government Compensation Costs The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in San Francisco, today released a new report providing policy reforms to help control the rising compensation costs o...

  • As the price of natural gas has fallen to a decade low, utility ratepayers wouldn’t know it. Utility costs continue to explode. Given the low cost of natural gas, Pacific Gas & Electric’s latest request to increase utility rates by more than 15 ...

  • KEY POINTS An ever-growing number of municipalities are instituting bans on plastic grocery bags in the name of environmental protection; Studies are mixed regarding whether or not such bans offer significant environmental benefits, but claims of ram...

  • The California Air Resources Board (CARB) wants car companies to install metallic reflective windows, which regulators believe will reduce energy use and fight global warming. Though possibly well intentioned this plan amounts only to window dressing...

  • When the government increases tax rates, it assumes that it will collect more tax revenue dollars. Generally, this is the case. But there may well be an important exception that occurs because of the elasticity of taxation. Despite the presence of ma...

  • A “neighborhood” dispute between Oklahoma and Texas could upset decades of water agreements that have facilitated the nation’s urban, agricultural and industrial growth. At issue in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann is Okl...

  • Yahoo Travel ranks the Las Vegas Strip as the nation’s second most popular tourist attraction, trailing only Times Square in New York City. Southern California residents can easily reach Las Vegas. They can pile the kids in the car for a weeken...

  • Health insurers across the country have begun warning of major premium increases as Obamacare kicks into high gear this year and next. Consumers in multiple states will see rate increases of 20 percent or more, and some could see their premiums doubl...

  • San Francisco – The Pacific Research Institute, a free-market think tank based in San Francisco, released a new report today that finds that California’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) will impose upon the state in 2020 an aggregate ma...

  • California has been a leader in Renewable Energy production, in part due to federal and state level policies that provide incentives for producers of renewable power. However, a new report found that California’s Energy policies will raise state powe...

  • On Election Day, California’s voters approved Prop. 30 by a margin of more than 700,000 votes. Championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, this ballot initiative will ratchet up income and sales tax rates over the next few years. It’s expected to pull in some $6...

  • The Pacific Research Institute, a free-market think tank based in San Francisco, released a new report today highlighting the successes of the Khan Academy, including improved learning and significant cost savings. The report also discusses the burea...

  • San Francisco – The Pacific Research Institute, a free-market think tank based in San Francisco, released a new report today that reviews the state of California’s agriculture production, examines the barriers that are impeding California’s agricultu...

  • Cities and other municipalities falling on hard financial times is nothing new, but it is rare that any such entity files for bankruptcy as a way of addressing its massive debts. Out of nearly 89,500 municipalities in the country, there were just 239...

  • New Analysis of Orange County Toll Roads Reveals Unsustainable Debt Levels, Cost Overruns, Financial Mismanagement, and an est. $1.7 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies Proposed refinancing plans will add hundreds of millions in debt without addressing fun...

  • Flaresun Fire Group is an innovative start-up that makes equipment designed to help first responders rescue people trapped underground or down steep embankments. Flaresun is also notable because it’s one of the latest companies to flee California tha...

  • The reduction in air pollution continues to be the most successful domain of pollution reduction since the first Earth Day in 1970. Since the first edition of this Almanac two years ago, reductions in air pollution have been astonishing. The EPA rece...

  • The Pacific Research Institute released a new study on the proposed “Plan Bay Area.” The study describes the proposal’s regulatory overreach and its detrimental consequences for Bay Area residents and the metropolitan economy. In addition, the study ...

  • The last two centuries have brought unprecedented urbanization around the world. Large cities have become the norm by meeting the aspirations of new residents. Cities are primarily economic organisms and are justified only by improving the lives of t...

  • Pacific Research Institute Co-Sponsored Study Says Common Core National Education Standards are Expensive and Undermine State and Local Control San Francisco – A just-published study by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute and co-sponsored by the Calif...

  • When it comes to saving the planet, some of the most popular weapons are policies to promote energy efficiency. As Tim Greeff, deputy legislative director of the League of Conservation Voters recently quipped, “Efficiency is always the cheapest, clea...

  • Nationwide, many (including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman) seem to think that California got Obamacare right. Given the fiasco of the Obamacare launch in other states, that’s a low bar. At least, the Covered California website works. An...

  • Municipalities have rarely defaulted on their debt. As a consequence, municipal debt is regarded as having an extremely low risk for investors. There are disconcerting trends developing that may change this historical view. The combination of the wea...

  • Lance Izumi of the Pacific Research Institute talks about the teacher tenure lawsuit in California. Listen to podcast here… Lance T. Izumi is president of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of higher...

  • On December 4th, 2013, in San Diego, the Paci?c Research Institute convened school board members from around California to learn more about the digital-education revolution that is sweeping the country.The conference was developed by Lance Izumi, sen...

  • During a 1954 congressional hearing, U.S. Army counsel Joseph Welch famously asked Senator Joseph McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency?” The same question may be asked of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), which featured a splashy cover ...

  • Despite its huge impact on the future of education in California, most Californians are only now learning about the Common Core national education standards that the state adopted several years ago. The reason for this inexcusable lag is because the ...

  • Anyone who has ever watched Animal Planet should be familiar with migrations. Geese do it, wildebeests and whales do it, turtles do it and, yes, people do it too. To migrate is a natural phenomenon. What’s interesting about most migrations is t...

  • Recently, the enemies of school choice won a significant victory. A small, but very important, amendment to the California Education Code, Assembly Bill 2225 by Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, died in the Assembly education committee – ...

  • In a scathing opinion, Los Angeles trial judge Rolf Treu ruled that California’s laws governing teacher tenure, teacher layoffs and teacher dismissals were unconstitutional. Judge Treu said that the evidence presented in the case of Vergara vs. Calif...

  • Only by Obamacare’s standards could Covered California, Sacramento’s state-run Obamacare exchange, be considered a success. Outside California, Obamacare is fading fast in the states. Some – led by Oregon and Maryland – intend to abandon their Obamac...

  • Pacific Research Institute Brief Reveals Flaws with San Francisco’s Transportation Task Force Report Today PRI released a brief reviewing San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Transportation Task Force Report: 2030. The brief is a supplement to PRI’s earlier ...

  • California’s Proposition 30, officially titled “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education,” is celebrating its second anniversary this November. The greatest anniversary gift would be to repeal it. California needs sustainable and robust ec...

  • The Pacific Research Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit think tank, today released a study on the effects of Prop. 30 on the state’s economy. “The Seven Lean Years: The Economic and Fiscal Consequences from California’s Proposition 30” was authore...

  • Anti-chemical activists continue to advocate to ban Bisphenol A (more commonly known as BPA), despite both BPA’s value and scientific evidence. In its latest manifestation, advocates are using scare tactics to justify the designation of BPA as a dang...

  • California is the pioneering state of a pioneer nation. It has long led the world in innovation and technology, in entertainment and aerospace, and other fields. It does, however, face serious challenges: the poor performance of our schools, the dete...

  • California is the pioneering state of a pioneer nation. It has long led the world in innovation and technology, in entertainment and aerospace, and other fields. It does, however, face serious challenges: the poor performance of our schools, the dete...

  • It’s taken longer than it should have, but Covered California, California’s Obamacare health insurance exchange, is finally being exposed as a billion-dollar boondoggle. In 2013, as news about the glitches and scandals in other Obamacare exchanges be...

  • It is usually not a good idea to take the risk of predicting what politicians and bureaucrats will do, but here’s a shot: California will decide to wind down the failing Covered California Obamacare exchange and transfer its operations to healthcare....

  • Twenty years ago, I had my first op-ed published in a major newspaper, the Los Angeles Times. The title was “Pull the Plug on the Electric Car Mandate.” In that column, I pointed out that battery-powered (non-hybrid) electric vehicles were not ready ...

  • Since his infamous declaration that “I have a pen, and I have a phone”, President Obama has been attempting to circumvent the Congress and implement his policy agenda through regulatory fiat. In a 5-4 decision, Michigan v. EPA released on Monday June...

  • When it comes to education reform, Nevada and California are a tale of two states — the best of times and the worst of times. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed legislation creating a universal school-choice program that will allow parents the fre...

  • Grimmway Academy is a charter school that serves primarily low-income, first-generation students in Arvin, California. Grimmway’s founder, Barbara Grimm-Marshall, is co-owner of Grimmway Farms, the largest carrot manufacturer in the world and the lar...

  • SACRAMENTO — Lance Izumi was elected in June as chair of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, one of the largest operating foundations in higher education. Two members of the California Community College Board o...

  • To combat soaring childhood obesity rates, just released guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics call for greater prevention efforts, including increased physical activity for children. Although the pediatricians group says that more researc...

  • As we look forward to a busy summer, PRI remains committed to its mission of championing freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility for all individuals by advancing market-based policy solutions. I can’t help but be proud of the impact we have...

  • California under Obamacare has enrolled three times as many people as originally projected in Medi-Cal, the welfare program that subsidizes low-income Californians’ access to health care. The total is now 12 million, about one-third of the state’s po...

  • A new study from the San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute has ranked the regulatory climate for small businesses in California the worst out of all 50 states — and the Bay Area is a prime example of why. The reasons? Costly regulations on s...

  • A new study from the San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute has ranked the regulatory climate for small businesses in California the worst out of all 50 states — and the Bay Area is a prime example of why. The reasons? Costly regulations on s...

  • KEY POINTS IN THIS BRIEF: Many commentators incorrectly identify California’s historic draught, melting of its snow caps, or a handful of misguided policies as the cause of the state’s current water crisis. The cause of California’s current water cri...

  • Last month, the Legislature sent 600 bills to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature (or veto). Senator Bob Hertzberg’s SB 8 was not among them. Hertzberg created a buzz when he introduced his proposal in late 2014. Los Angeles Times columnist George...

  • We’ve all read the daily stories highlighting the drought’s impact on California’s economy and environment. Wells have run dry, forcing some Central Valley communities to shower in church parking lots. Farmers are fallowing land. In many areas of the...

  • When the California Department of Education recently released the results of the 2015 Common Core math and English tests, officials attributed the low student scores to the increased rigor of both the new standards and the new test. However, the real...

  • Regulation: Hillary Clinton claimed that California’s paid family leave mandate hasn’t hurt business and job growth, and ought to be expanded nationwide. But a recent study shows that she’s living in a statist dream world. Clinton m...

  • A recent NBC Nightly News story warned of a nationwide teacher shortage, with 21,000 teacher positions needing to be filled in California alone. The NBC report said, “The demand is especially high in science, math, and special education.” What NBC fa...

  • The regulatory burden in California continues to grow. Minimum wage increases—which simultaneously raise costs on businesses and harms many low-wage workers and consumers—have passed in Los Angeles and San Francisco. California is also pursuing regul...

  • In 1979, the Pacific Research Institute opened its doors in San Francisco. Jimmy Carter was President; Diane Feinstein was mayor; and Brian Chesky, the founder of home-sharing platform Airbnb, was still two years away from being born. San Francisco v...

  • Teachers unions in Los Angeles (LA) and other public employee unions formed a coalition to fight the expansion of charter schools in California. The expansion effort, led by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation (BF), aims at more than doubling the num...

  • In March 2015, PRI filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA) -a major case challenging compulsory union dues that nearly all California teachers are required to pay. The case, spea...

  • The Pacific Research Institute released a new study on California’s pension crisis. “California’s Pension Crowd-Out,” authored by PRI senior fellow Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D., is part of PRI’s California Prosperity Agenda, a 12-point plan to address Cal...

  • We’ve all read the daily stories highlighting the drought’s impact on California’s economy and environment. Wells have run dry, forcing some Central Valley communities to shower in church parking lots. Farmers are fallowing land. In many areas of the...

  • During this week’s much-anticipated oral arguments in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association U.S. Supreme Court case, which challenges mandatory teacher-union fees, a critical exchange took place between Justice Antonin Scalia, who is view...

  • President Obama wasted no time earlier this month vetoing a bill that would’ve repealed large parts of Obamacare. To the president and his fellow Democrats, the entire process was pointless. Sixty-one previous repeal efforts by the GOP have fai...

  • Almost everybody agrees that an employee – public or private – should be judged on his or her individual qualifications and performance. Yet, for many of the nation’s teachers, their freedom to be treated as individuals is barred by a collective barg...

  • Unfunded public pensions threaten the fiscal solvency of states and localities across the country. And California is not immune. Back in 2012, San Diego voters recognized the threat and overwhelmingly supported Proposition B, a set of pension reforms...

  • In his 2016 State of the State address, Governor Jerry Brown touted the centerpiece of his education agenda, the Local Control Funding Formula, which simplifies the way in which local school districts are funded. Yet his key legacy program has experi...

  • After more than a year, California’s politicians and health insurers have finally agreed to and passed last month what California Healthline calls a “tax hike in name only” to finance Medi-Cal. If only it were that simple. Funded jointly by the state...

  • As expected, in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a 4-4 tie vote in the critical Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case, which sought to determine whether non-union public employees could b...

  • The same week a state appellate court overturned a lower court’s ruling that barred teacher tenure, four families in Minnesota filed a similar lawsuit questioning the fairness of tenure laws and last in-first out policies. “There’s no doubt though th...

  • State and local public pension systems are in deep financial trouble. The latest comprehensive assessment by Joshua Rauh of the Hoover Institution, which captured 97 percent of public pension assets, found that the unfunded liabilities of public pens...

  • Drought-weary Californians breathed a sigh of relief because another “March Miracle” series of storms soaked much of the northern half of the state. Sadly for the people of the Golden State, their relief is mostly misplaced. The state reported that t...

  • In a recent decision, the California Court of Appeal ruled that it was up to the California Legislature, not the judiciary, to set the level of spending for schools. The court’s ruling makes good sense, not only for legal reasons, but also in l...

  • California continues to endure the state’s most severe drought since at least 1895. And, the economic costs have been high. Estimates for 2015 alone show a cost of 21,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in economic losses. Read full editorial...