6 Key Measures of California's Fiscal Health 2017-18

Monday, January 9, 2017

Senator Moorlach's Notes on Analyzing the Governor's 2017-18 Budget Proposal

1. California's Net Financial Position

California’s “net” unrestricted financial position is a $169 billion deficit ($4,375 per person) according to the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

This figure should be positive for healthy organizations.  It is derived by tallying the state government’s assets (monetary funds, investments, buildings, roadways, bridges, parks, etc.) and subtracting its obligations. The last positive position California had was during Governor Pete Wilson’s final term where the state had $1.5 billion in unrestricted net assets.

California is now ranked the worst state, below Illinois, whose net position is a negative $143 billion, or $11,174 per person. Illinois’ finances are so bad, they’re telling lottery winners that they may have to delay their payments.

Deferred maintenance for the state’s roads and highways is some $59 billion.

2. Estimates of California Unfunded Pension Liabilities

CalPERS:                      $114.5 billion

CalSTRS:                      $76.2 billion

UC Pensions (UCR) :  $12.1 billion

*NOTE: For the 2015/16 fiscal year, CalPERS planned for a 7.5% rate of return, but only managed to achieve a 0.6% rate of return. Seven percent of a $400 billion liability means a shortfall of $28 billion (some 20% of Governor Brown’s general fund budget.

3. Current Unfunded Retiree Medical Liability

California has the nation’s highest unfunded retiree medical liability at $74.1 to $80 billion.

4. California's Transportation Infrastructure

5. California's Business & Economic Competitiveness

6. Pension Crisis is the Elephant in the Room


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Press Contact: Amanda Smith @ 714-662-6050, amanda.smith@sen.ca.gov

State Senator John Moorlach is a nationally recognized budget, finance, and fiscal policy expert. Moorlach graduated from CA State University in Long Beach in 1977, passed the C.P.A. exam in 1978, and completed his studies for the Certified Financial Planner designation in 1987. He earned a Certificate in Public Finance from the University of Delaware, Division of Continuing Education in 1995, the Certificate of Achievement in Public Plan Policy (CAPPP) in Employee Pensions in 1999 and the Trustees Masters Program in 2003 through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and the New Supervisors Training Institute in 2007 from CA State University in Sacramento in cooperation with their Center for California Studies.