A number of pension-reform proposals include capping the pay which is used to calculate the pension benefit. But the question is, how much is too much for that cap? CalPensions' Ed Mendel takes a look.
"A letter from 36 of UC’s highest-paid executives threatened a lawsuit because UC, allegedly breaking a promise made in 1999, did not lift the cap after federal approval finally came in 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in December 2010."
"The demand was criticized by Gov. Brown, faculty leaders and others. The executives issued the threat as UC regents approved a painful plan to begin closing a $21 billion retirement funding gap amid budget cuts, pay freezes and layoffs."
"The UC demand prompted Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, to introduce legislation requiring all pension funds to use the IRS limit. AB 89 was one of several bills held last year at the request of Brown, who wants sweeping pension reform this year."
For a century, telephone companies in California have been required to provide land lines at nearly all addresses, a "universal service" requirement that was part of the companies' right to operate as a monopoly.
But that may change, notes Reuters' David Cay Johnston via TURN: "AT&T and Verizon, the dominant telephone companies, want to end their 99-year-old universal service obligation known as "provider of last resort." They say universal landline service is a costly and unfair anachronism that is no longer justified because of a competitive market for voice services."
"The new rules AT&T and Verizon drafted would enhance profits by letting them serve only the customers they want. Their focus, and that of smaller phone companies that have the same universal service obligation, is on well-populated areas where people can afford profitable packages that combine telephone, Internet and cable television."
"Sprint, T-Mobile and the cell phone divisions of AT&T and Verizon are not subject to universal service and can serve only those areas they find profitable. Unless the new rules are written very carefully, millions of people, urban and rural, will lose basic telephone service or be forced to pay much more for calls."
Jerry Brown says he's halted signature gathering on his original tax proposal and is pushing ahead with the recently reached compromise agreement. The deadlines are tight but Brown says the plan will make the November ballot.
From Nicholas Riccardi in the LAT: ""Gov. Jerry Brown is no longer collecting signatures for his original tax hike ballot proposal, confident that a compromise unveiled late last month will get enough signatures to meet a tight deadline to be placed on the November ballot, his top political advisor announced Wednesday."
"Brown late last month cut an eleventh-hour deal with liberals and a teachers union that wanted him to sock the wealthy harder in his proposed combination hike of the sales tax and levies on high earners. The governor tweaked his measure and launched a frenzy of signature-gathering to submit petitions during the first half of May to place the measure on the November ballot."
Speaking of money, North Coast Assemblyman Mike Allen's ties to labor unions are getting attention because of the income he derived from his services.
From Derek Moore in the Press-Democrat: "Assemblyman Michael Allen remained on the payroll of two North Bay labor unions after he took office last year, raising questions for the Santa Rosa Democrat who previously ran afoul of state political conflict-of-interest laws because of his work."
"State records show that unions representing health care workers at two North Bay hospitals paid Allen at least $20,000 last year for legal services. The income, which Allen legally had to report under state political disclosure laws, was in addition to the $95,291 Allen earned as a state lawmaker last year."
Howard Berman may be wondering that with friends like Darrell Issa, who needs enemies? Issa, a powerful House member known best for his attacks on the Democratic administration, praised the liberal Berman, who is in a tough reelection fight.
From the LA Times' Jean Merl: "Rep. Howard Berman, who is locked in a pitched reelection battle with fellow liberal Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, likes to say he can work with Republicans to get things done. But even he may have been surprised when a conservative GOP colleague offered him some effusive support recently."
I don't tell people to vote for Democrats," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) told an audience at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "If there were a good Republican in the race, I wouldn't tell you to vote for Howard, probably. But the fact is, Howard is in the race of his lifetime, and I want him back.""Issa made the remarks Sunday at the entertainment industry's American Spirit Awards, where he and Berman were being honored. An audiotape was sent to a Daily Variety editor,
Ted Johnson, who wrote about the episode on the publication's Wilshire & Washington blog."