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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Bright state revenue forecast obscures major financial issues

Uploaded: May 29, 2014
California revenues are booming, but so are expenses.
Governor Jerry Brown announced earlier this month that the May revision of his January budget proposal would contain $2.4 billion in additional revenues. That was followed by the statement that Medi-Cal expenses—the program for indigent people—have soared. Thank ObamaCare.
The situation in the Legislature will get even more interesting because the non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office released its report last week that said its review said that revenues would be almost $5 billion more over the next fiscal year. For Democrats interested in restoring programs that were cut, that pot of money is very inviting.
The governor, beyond the season of life that higher office is a consideration, took a pretty conservative posture, proposing to pay some of the $200 billion debt, save money in a fund for when income taxes on capital gains turn down again (they will) and take a careful path forward. The state still faces a huge unfunded liability in the teachers' pension fund—the governor's proposal would increase employee's contributions by 3 percent and increase school district's by nearly 2 ½ times and it would still take 30 years to close the gap with a generously estimated 7.5 percent annual return. For those familiar with investments, the alarm is obvious.
The Medi-Cal situation is even more troubling. The state's aggressive outreach to sign up people for ObamaCare resulted in a nearly 50 percent increase in enrollment—11.5 million compared to 7.5 million in July. The governor noted that about 30 percent of the population will be covered by Medicaid (up from 20 percent)—ever read articles about California as the state with an extremely wealthy few and a very poor mass. You are looking at it.
As Alleysia Finley reported in the Wall Street Journal, California is one of the states that accepted the federal bribe to pay 100 percent of the ObamaCare costs for three years if states raised eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Enrollment was a raging success—attracting both 1.4 million new enrollees that qualified under ObamaCare plus 800,000 who qualified under previous standards. The bill to the state—which must pick up 50 percent of the cost for those eligible under the prior standards-- $1.2 billion.
The ugly financial numbers do not address the more important issue—providing health care. At the same time that enrollment has soared, the governor is proposing yet another 10 percent reduction in reimbursement for physicians treating Medi-Cal patients. The rate already is the lowest in the country—under the more generous ObamaCare numbers doctors receive $42 per Medi-Cal patient—that plummets to $21.60 next year according to a report in the Contra Costa Times.
Those trivial state payments are why many physicians will not accept new Medi-Cal patients and it obviously is going to get worse.

Comments

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"YES! Please raise my taxes!!"

...Said nobody with more than half a brain.

What a sorry state we're in, and yet, no one in Sacramento would dare say cut spending.


Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 30, 2014 at 8:43 am

Yes, raise taxes. Raise them on the wealthy; raise them on corporations. Our educational system is a wreck, with many school teachers having to purchase basic school supplies -- sometimes even books -- out of their own pocketbooks for their students. College professors haven't seen a raise in nearly 6 years. We have no adequate means by which to deal with the mentally disturbed, and then we fret when one of them picks up a gun and starts killing people.

Yet here come the same greedy, small-minded pigs, day after day, squealing about how they are overtaxed. They know nothing about a teacher trying to teach a classroom of 34 kids; they know nothing about Public Defenders having 50 cases assigned to them at any given time; they know nothing of social workers dealing with hundreds of poor and distraught families on a daily basis. I wish these oinkers who whine about their money would suddenly lose it. All of it. Then we'd hear real squealing.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Art,

Ever notice that when we throw more money at problems they never quite get solved or even get better?

Why is that?

I can post links to the relationship between increased school funding and lower test scores all day but you'll never accept them, nor would you provide any evidence to the contrary.

Welfare, defense contracts, EPA, IRS, VA, State department...I can go on and on about the BILLIONS wasted per year, but you'll never accept the data nor will you provide any contrary evidence other then some blanket insult.

You and your ilk seriously bore me with your constant complaints of people like me who want responsible government.

Go feed at the trough Arty and leave the adults alone.

Dan


Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Nope, haven't noticed that at all. I do notice a childlike penchant for throwing out vacuous platitudes that have no relation to reality. That's what platitudes do: They serve as excuses by the small-minded who aren't able to use their minds to think through problems with any rigor.

No form of government that taxes its citizens will ever satisfy some of the greedy little pigs who refuse to deal with any reality beyond their own belly buttons. Oh, and here's Dan, admiring the shiny little penny in his own, which he rescued from the clutches of a children's breakfast program.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 30, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Art,

You haven't noticed because you're not very bright.

Ah, so "thinking through" a problem is just throwing more money at it, averting my eyes, plugging my ears and hoping that it goes away, right?

Go out and play genius.

This is the last time I'll address you in this thread. Not worth my time.

Dan



Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I see. Don't try to sort through which policies are good or needed, which not so much. Just throw up your greedy little hands and say everyone is irresponsible with your (wife's) tax contribution.

And so, the platitude guy ran out of clichés. Be careful not to throw your money at anything, Dan, good or bad, needed or not. Well, actually, we don't have to worry about you, because your greedy little hands won't throw your (wife's) money anywhere, they're too busy scrounging for coins in that old sofa.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 30, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Art,

You are just ignorant enough to not catch the hypocrisy in your last few comments.

Why don't YOU suggest the programs to cuts and then we can have a nice little dialog, hmmmm?

I won't be holding my breath waiting for you to provide specifics.

Ta ta!

Dan


Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

I already mentioned a number of areas where more tax money might best be applied. Education (e.g., smaller class sizes), a more functional criminal justice system (e.g., reduced case loads for public defenders), higher pay for professors....

Obamacare will prove to be a godsend in terms of less taxpayer money needed as people will get the care they need when they need it before extreme medical measures/procedures are needed.

Dan's offering: "Hey dudes, throw money at stuff and it won't help. Be an adult you geniuses. Be a greedy little curmudgeon like I am."


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 31, 2014 at 11:19 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Art,

If you have any data that refutes this: Web Link

...then please show it. If not, go crawl back in your hole, troll.

Obamacare? Hahahaha! Do you seriously want to go down that road Arty? I'd be happy to have that discussion with you!

Hahahahaha! Too funny genius!

Dan


Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 31, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Well, again Dan, you really don't know how to think very well. You take spurious findings by the CATO Institute which is funded almost entirely by the Koch brothers who have an undeniable agenda which is to undermine public schools while promoting charters. Because you don't use your intelligence very well, this probably didn't occur to you.

As to the charts that are provided, all they show is that it increasingly takes more money to keep schools afloat. More expensive books, more technology in the classroom, more impoverished students, and more, all has required more funding. Even the village idiot should be able to understand this. But I perhaps expect too much from you.

If enough tax money was generated which would, say, cut classroom sizes in half, we'd all see the upswing in performance that all of us -- except the greedy right-wing curmudgeons like yourself -- want to see. You'd probably be surprised (and probably chagrined as well), that current maps on the wall, new texts that are distributed to each student, and even new 'teacher' texts for the parents to use while working through homework with their kids -- these and so much more could have an incredibly positive effect upon overall performance. I do realize, however, since you don't care about kids, but only yourself, you're unlikely to be impressed by this.

Instead of hurling platitudes and unthinkingly promoting charts you don't understand, maybe you should take yourself seriously. For you continue threatening to leave and not come back; but your inevitable return thereby demonstrates to us that your word means nothing. Of course, consistent words follow from directed thought; you seem not to have mastered this basic cognitive task.


Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 31, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Oh dear, I need to correct myself. This is something, Dan, that genuinely reflective people do when thinking and communicating about things.

I stated above the "you continue threatening to leave and not come back." Actually, I should have stated: "you continue promising to leave and not come back." A threat involves something hearers DON'T want; a promise involves something hearers DO want. And, yes, breaking your promise as you have done certainly does reflect a moral failing on your part; for a promise places oneself under a moral obligation to fulfill one's promise.

The only real exception is if the person who promises is too cognitively stunted to grasp a moral principle. Huh! Go figure!


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 31, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Art,

Just like I thought: not a single refutation or link to one. Just the braying of a jackass.

Come back when you have some data Arty-boy, until then...

Ta Ta...

Dan


Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 1, 2014 at 2:40 am

Like I say, Dan, it appears you are too cognitively stunted to recognize a refutation even when it is delivered to your front door.

My surmise: Dan is a left wing troll who gets off making people believe that right wingers are stupid. There really is no other explaining it.

See ya later youse geniuses.


Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 10:33 am

I'm going to ignore formerly Dan's childish insistence that adults believe that problems solve themselves with no investment of work or money and that every penny the government spends which doesn't go directly towards his own personal benefit is "wasted" and instead address Tim's first and most obvious error in logic: Thanking "Obamacare" for increased costs of providing medical care for the less financially secure among us. Don't "thank" Obama, Tim: thank Ronald Reagan.

Reagan's the one who signed the law requiring hospitals to provide medical care to everyone who needs it, regardless of whether they could pay for it or not. Once that requirement of universal medical care was enacted all that's been left is how we pay for it. Until Obamacare we did it in the least efficient and most expensive way possible - through county hospital ER's, patching up folks after they were injured or got really, really sick - with little or no preventative care. We all paid for that care, even if that's hard for you to understand.

Obamacare did not increase the number of poor people, or the amount of medical care they need. In fact, by increasing access to preventative care, Obamacare is a start towards the goal of lowering overall medical costs. An ounce of prevention, remember?

So while I understand the knee-jerk need to take a swipe at Obama, try to think it through next time, OK, Tim?


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Peter/Art,

Yes, let's keep throwing taxpayer money at Government programs: Web Link

From the first two paragraphs:

"Medicare spent $6.7 billion too much for office visits and other patient evaluations in 2010, according to a report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services."

"But in its reply to the findings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, said it doesn't plan to review the billings of doctors who almost always charge for the most expensive visits because it isn't cost-effective to do so."

So, the feds are saying that they just won't fix the problem...

$6.7 BILLION! From just ONE government program! And your response: WE NEED MORE MONEY!!!

You both are caricatures and should not be taken seriously in anything you say.

Go ahead...fling your poo little monkeys.

Dan


Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Peter,

I hereby bequeath to you the Golden Spatula, which you shall need should you attempt to argue with scrambled eggs. All best to you! It is now "your kitchen," and I shall observe with some amusement.

Sincerely,
Your fellow monkey


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Art/Peter,

LOL!

That's all you got, huh genius?

Refute or shut...

Oh forget it!

Dan


Posted by JP, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 3:25 am

Posted by Art Friedman, "I already mentioned a number of areas where more tax money might best be applied. Education (e.g., smaller class sizes), a more functional criminal justice system (e.g., reduced case loads for public defenders), higher pay for professors...."

So what you're saying is that everyone should keep paying more because folks like you think funding union government jobs is the answer to all problems. I respectfully disagree.




Posted by Art Friedman, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 8:09 am

Sorry, JP, you can 'respectfully disagree' all you want, and use what you call 'logic' to get there, but you're barking up the wrong tree. I've already passed the Golden Spatula on to Mr. Kluget. Perhaps he will deal with your scrambled eggs. I wish him all the very best.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 3, 2014 at 9:03 am

JP,

I don't think a lot of college professors are union members. Also, American public colleges are known throughout the world for their high quality.


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