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2019-20 State Budget: Responsible, with Lots of Bold One-Time Investments

Posted: 1/15/2019 Tags: budget legislation policy Tags Views: 1132

On January 10th, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2019-20 State Budget that would fund state government for the 12-month period starting July 1, 2019.

State spending next year would total just over $209 billion, with $144.2 billion in general fund and $59.5 billion special funds spending.  Another $5.4 billion in state bond spending makes up the difference.  This is about a 4% increase over current fiscal year spending.  State general fund revenue is booming.  According to the governor, there is $21 billion in surplus revenue.  In November, the LAO had predicted a $15 billion surplus.  This is in addition to the $16 billion held in the state’s rainy day fund and other reserve accounts.  The Newsom proposed budget will sock an additional $1.8 billion into the rainy day fund alone.

The governor preached responsible budgeting while also touting his many well-publicized new budget initiatives.  

On the fiscal responsibility front he sounded much like Jerry Brown in recent years.  He said his Administration is preparing for the inevitable next recession, plans to build the largest state budget reserve in history, and noted that his new budget initiatives are largely one-time funding proposals.  

The governor spent the rest of his time outlining what he called bold investments in California’s future, including plans to increase access to affordable health care and prescription drugs, address the housing and homelessness crisis, and provide universal preschool for four-year-olds, among other expansions in education funding.  

Click here to read a quick rundown on a few items that will specifically interest ACSS members...
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All State Employees Begin Prefunding Retiree Health Care

Posted: 8/24/2018 Tags: budget legislation policy salary Tags Views: 1889

Your August paystub will likely reflect a deduction for something called CERBT. That stands for the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust. Along with the General Salary Increases received by supervisors, managers and confidential employees on July 1, the budget includes provisions to begin prefunding retiree health care. While some excluded employees have already seen this contribution take effect, all state employees are now prefunding retiree healthcare.

Your contribution as a percentage of salary is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care which has received substantial negative public and media attention and to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

In July, CalHR announced that excluded and exempt employees not directly associated with a bargaining unit, e.g., E48, E97, E98, and E99, will begin prefunding 0.8% of their pensionable compensation to Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) effective with the August 2018 pay period.

ACSS compiled the following chart showing the legislatively approved contribution rates for OPEB and information provided by CalHR for exempt and excluded employees not related to a specific bargaining unit. OPEB Contribution rates:

OPEB Rates for EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES
AFFILIATED WITH BARGAINING UNIT
Effective August 2018:
 CERBT
 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15,
17, 20, 21 (SEIU Units)
 1.2%
 2  1.3%
 6  4% 
 7  2.7%
 8  3%
 9  1%
 10  1.4%
 12  2.5%
 13  2.6%
 16  1.4%
 17  1.2%
 18  2.6%
 19  2%
 Exempt and excluded employees
not directly tied to a BU
 0.8%

Details of the OPEB provisions are available here: http://hrmanual.calhr.ca.gov/Home/ManualItem/1/1422

Click here to read OBEB FAQ's from CalHR.


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General Salary Increases for Excluded Employees Effective July 1, 2018

Posted: 6/26/2018 Tags: budget legislation policy salary Tags Views: 3575

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has informed ACSS of General Salary Increases (GSI) for state excluded employees effective July 1, 2018. As detailed below, excluded employees will receive the same percentage raises as the bargaining unit they are associated with.

Earlier this month ACSS President Frank Ruffino, ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster, and ACSS Director of Representation Nellie Lynn met with CalHR Director Richard Gillihan to discuss issues affecting state excluded employees – including pay raises and retiree health benefits. Following the meeting and the announcement of salary increases, Director Gillihan shared the following with ACSS, “Managers and supervisors are the backbone of California state government. Their dedication ensures we are serving the public and safeguarding the state. I am pleased that the state is able to increase their salaries in recognition of the work they do.” Ruffino thanked the Director for his continued support of excluded employees.

Along with the General Salary Increases, the state budget includes provisions regarding state employee contributions for prefunding retiree healthcare. While some excluded employees already participate, all will soon see an employee contribution as a percentage of salary which is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care which has received substantial negative public and media attention and to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire. The deduction, expected to appear or adjust with your August pay warrant (received at the end of August/beginning of September), will show as CERBT – which stands for the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust.

 EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES AFFILIATED
 WITH BARGAINING UNIT:
 GSI
 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21  4%
 6, 18  3%
 7, 13, 16  2% 
 10  5%
 12  3.5%
 19  2.5%

Exempt and Excluded Employees not directly tied to a bargaining unit (such as many employees who have an “E” Collective Bargaining Identifier) will receive a 4% GSI.

The official “Pay Letters” implementing the salary increases are expected to be released shortly after the Governor signs the State Budget later this week.


UPDATED 7/5/2018

Click here to view Pay Letter1815 for details on the General Salary Increases for Excluded Employees.


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May Revision of the Budget: Continue Saving for the Future as Surplus Grows

Posted: 5/16/2018 Tags: benefits budget legislation pension policy retirement salary Tags Views: 1124

Governor Jerry Brown released his May Revise of the Budget on May 11th, 2018. 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:

“The state continues to generate revenue at unprecedented levels and now it is coming in faster. In January, the surplus was predicted to be $6 billion. The surplus now is expected to be $9 billion.

The May Revise proposes saving for the future. In January, the Governor proposed to put an additional $4.4 billion into the state rainy day fund, topping it out at $13.8 billion – the constitutional limit. In the May Revise, he socks another $3.3 billion into a different reserve account.

Budget negotiations between the Administration and the Legislature will now heat up. The Governor will urge restraint. Legislators of both parties will push for billions of dollars in additional spending. Ultimately, you can expect the Governor to agree to modest increased spending while keeping his rainy day reserves. Regardless, the Legislature will pass a budget by June 15 and the Governor will sign it by June 30.

Here’s what the May Revise says about issues important to ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation

The January budget proposal included $1.2 billion ($589.5 million General Fund) for:

  • increased employee compensation
  • health care costs for active state employees
  • retiree health care prefunding for active employees

The May Revise decreases this amount by $8.1 million to reflect:

  • corrections to 2019 health rates
  • natural changes to enrollment in health and dental plan
  • updated employment information for salary increases
  • updated employment information for salary increases
  • revised pay increases for judges
  • updated costs related to the salary survey estimates for the California Highway Patrol (Bargaining Unit 5)

State CalPERS Contribution

The state’s contribution – $6.2 billion – to CalPERS is down slightly ($18 million) from the January estimate. The decline in the revise is mainly driven by:

  • CalPERS’ higher than expected investment return in 2016-17
  • the benefit of the state’s additional $6 billion pension payment in 2017-18
  • higher than projected enrollment of members under the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013, who have lower benefit formulas

Overall, pension reforms are beginning to reduce costs. The May Revise proposes no additional pension reforms.

State Health Care/Retiree Health Care

The May Revise makes no changes to the expected costs of providing state employees and state retirees health care.

State Employee Position Increases

The May Revise also reports that there is expected to be an additional 3,878 position in state government next year for a total of 210,767 in FY 2018-19.”

The Governor’s complete budget summary and draft budget can be found here: www.ebudget.ca.gov.


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Notable points from the Governor’s State Budget Report 2018-2019

Posted: 1/26/2018 Tags: budget legislation policy Tags Views: 1411

On January 10, 2018, Governor Brown released his proposed 2018-2019 State Budget.  The proposal maintains a balanced budget for the foreseeable future under current projections and will also bring the Rainy Day Fund to $13.5 billion, the maximum level allowed under the State Constitution. Revenues for the current budget year are predicted to be $4.7 billion higher than previously estimated. While next fiscal year’s Budget is projected to have a healthy surplus, Brown noted the state will continue to face uncertain times, including the ramifications of the recently enacted federal tax bill and his reiterated warnings to plan for an inevitable recession. The Governor’s budget proposes $131.7 billion in General Fund expenditures, an increase of 4.1 percent over the 2017-2018 budget.

Click here to read the full story...


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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: 1796

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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ACSS Met with CalHR to Address the Concerns of Managers and Supervisors

Posted: 1/30/2017 Tags: benefits budget legislation meeting salary Tags Views: 2901

On January 19th, ACSS met with CalHR to discuss the possibility of salary increases for excluded employees in reaction to the recent rank and file agreements that were reached through bargaining in December of 2016. ACSS also intended this meeting to introduce ourselves to CalHR’s new Labor Relations Officer, Kate Van Sickle (who replaced Steven Booth). ACSS helped bring VanSickle up to speed with the history of ACSS’ efforts on advocating for resolving salary compaction and helped familiarize her with the full scope of issues that ACSS advocates for. The meeting was productive and ACSS brought valuable items to the table, yet many specific items were left unanswered by CalHR. CalHR was not specific about which classifications will get additional pay and when it may happen.

ACSS thinks that excluded employees got the better deal regarding the sweeping 3% GSI salary increase for excluded employees in October 2016 versus the $2500 one-time bonus that Rank and file recently received. The 3% GSI increase for excluded employees is a “forever benefit” and it is PERSABLE, so it will count towards your retirement benefits. The $2,500 bonus that Rank and File just received does not.

In our recent January 19th meeting with CalHR, they confirmed that they will NOT be providing excluded employees with a one-time bonus, like that of SEIU Local 1000. During the meeting, ACSS heavily advocated on behalf of members for special salary adjustments to be passed on to excluded employees. CalHR’s response continues to be that final decisions have not yet been made and they will follow the administration’s directive to establish and maintain a 5% pay differential instead of the 10% that ACSS advocates as fair and equitable.

There is good news in the Governor’s proposed 2017 – 2018 budget. The budget adds $1.2 billion for increased employee compensation. It is anticipated that this will provide for General Salary Increases for excluded employees in July 2017, as per PML 2016-023. This is just the beginning of the budget process. Unlike bargaining, where rank and file agrees upon multi-year salary increases, excluded employees are excluded from bargaining, which means that they rely upon the budget each year to determine salary adjustments. The final approved budget bill is still a long way off and a lot can happen between now and the end of the fiscal year. ACSS will continue to monitor the budget process and advocate funding to provide excluded employees fair and equitable pay packages.

ACSS Lobby Day is on March 15th. We strongly encourage you to join us at Lobby Day and meet with legislators and educate them about the issues affecting excluded employees, like pay compaction. As news develops, ACSS will provide any updates in regards to pay increases and further discussion with CalHR.


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Notable points from the Governor’s State Budget Report 2017-2018

Posted: 1/23/2017 Tags: budget governor legislation retirement salary Tags Views: 2946

On January 10, 2017, Governor Brown released his proposed 2017-2018 State Budget. Once again Brown emphasized “budget prudence” by reiterating “deficits are always much larger in magnitude than surpluses.” Brown continues to discourage spending money on programs that improve the lives of Californians and restoring programs that were once cut.

In the big picture, the Governor’s budget proposes $122.5 billion in General Fund expenditures, a slight reduction from the 2016-2017 budget. It also assumes an increase of $5.2 billion in General Fund revenues compared to last year. Over the course of the next three fiscal years, the 2017-18 budget assumes a $1.6 billion deficit in the next budget year and $1 to $2 billion deficits in future years, if left unaddressed. In addition, the Administration socked away another $1 billion into the Proposition 2 rainy day fund to pad the nearly $8 billion balance and prepare for future deficits.

>> Click here to read the full article that includes in-depth content on...

  • State Employee Compensation
  • State CalPERS Contribution
  • Civil Service Reform
  • State Employee Position Increases, Funding Proposals

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Legislative Analyst’s Office Predicts Uncertainty Yet Preparedness in Future Budget Outlook

Posted: 11/18/2016 Tags: budget legislation Tags Views: 1026

On November 16, 2016, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released a comprehensive report on the assessment of the condition of the California economy and budget over the 2016-17 through 2020-2021 period. While the report predicts unpredictable economic conditions ahead, the report also provides a positive budget outlook and describes how the state is prepared to withstand a mild recession in the future.

Assuming that the state makes no additional budget commitments, the report estimates the state would end up with a decent amount of reserves. Of the $11.5 billion in estimated reserves, $2.8 billion would be set aside for discretionary reserves, which the Legislature can appropriate for any purpose.

In the event of a mild economic downturn scenario, the LAO estimates the state would have enough reserves to cover almost all of its operating deficits through 2020-21 without cutting spending or raising taxes.

These estimates are under the assumptions that the state does not make any changes in current policies or programs during the outlook period, and assumes no new changes in federal policy. The future is uncertain and any unforeseen future changes could have significant impact on the budget outlook.

>>Click here to read the full report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office on the Budget Outlook.


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What does the $15 minimum wage mean for state workers?


In the past decade, state raises ranged from 1 to 3 percent annually. The recent law that Governor Brown signed increasing the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 is equivalent to a 10 percent increase per year starting in January. This swift increase is bound to have dramatic effects.

Unions, like the AFL-CIO in New York, whose state recently passed a similar minimum wage law, predicts that those making 16, 17 or 18 dollars an hour can start to bargain for 19, 20 and 21 dollars or more. J.J. Jelincic, a CalPERS board member and former CSEA president, said, “When you raise the floor, it creates tremendous pressure for raises at least a few rungs up.”

But what does this mean for state managers and supervisors? Union spokesman for Cal Fire, Terry McHale, says, “The state risks compaction. You can't have the people at the bottom making more than the people directing.” The minimum wage raise may exacerbate compaction issues. Now, it is even more important for the State to tackle salary compaction issues for supervisors, managers, and excluded employees before the situation worsens

Read more from the SacBee article

Read more from US News and the Associated Press article


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