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Governor Brown's "Push Me Pull Me" May Revision of the Budget

Posted: 5/12/2017 Tags: budget legislation pension policy salary Tags Views: 1078 Print:

Governor Jerry Brown released his May Revise of the Budget on May 11th, 2017. Here, ACSS Legislative Advocate Ted Toppin provides relevant analysis and insight of the May Revise that may be of interest to managers, supervisors and other excluded state employees:

"With the Governor’s release of his May Budget revision yesterday, it was hard not feel as if you were being pushed and pulled in opposite directions. On the one hand, the Governor again highlighted the largest threats to the budget:

  • Recession. Our economic expansion is the third longest in California history and a “recession at some point is inevitable.”
  • Federal Funding Cuts. The federal government is contemplating “actions that could send the state budget into turmoil.”

In his remarks the Governor went so far as to say “make no doubt about it, cuts are coming in the next few years, and they’ll be big.”

On the other hand, the May revise reports revenues are higher than expected in January and proposes new spending:

  • January revenue projections were $5.8 billion short of what was expected. The May revise reports projected revenues have improved by $2.5 billion since then.
  • The May revise proposes new spending on K-12 school ($1.4 billion), county IHSS services ($400 million), and continuing state funded childcare ($500 million).

Reducing CalPERS State Pension Liabilities. Perhaps the most important and interesting May revise proposal for state supervisors and managers (indeed all state employees and retirees) was the Governor’s proposal to make an immediate infusion of an additional $6 billion supplemental payment to CalPERS. The money will come as a loan from the Surplus Money Investment Fund. If it works as expected, it really is a clever and innovative approach to reducing the unfunded CalPERS liability for state employees.

According to the May revise “this action effectively doubles the state’s annual payment and will mitigate the impact of increasing pension contributions due to the state’s large unfunded liabilities and the CalPERS Board’s recent action to lower its assumed investment rate of return from 7.5 percent to 7 percent.” After the transfer, the $6 billion will be expected to earn a 7 percent return from CalPERS, compared to the less than 1 percent currently earned from SMIF. Over the next two decades, this supplemental payment will save the state an estimated $11 billion in payments to CalPERS and lower the annual contribution to the fund by an average of 2.1 percent of payroll. The costs associated with the payment will be repaid with Proposition 2’s (rainy day fund) dedicated revenues for long term liabilities.

This proposal and the others in the May revise will now go through review by state legislative budget subcommittees leading up to the state budget approval deadline – June 15. Here is the Governor’s press release from yesterday with a link to the full May revise."




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