CA CAFR: How Liu and Portantino should cover your assets in official responses
Now into the fourth week of no public responses from California state Senator Carol Liu and Assemblymember Anthony Portantino regarding CAFR data of $600 billion in public assets that make a $16 billion budget deficit obsolete, this is a public response I offer for their consideration, have e-mailed them, and they are welcome to use in part or whole. But after four weeks, it looks like my initial question’s answer is that these two “representatives” are no more than minions to the 1%. I challenge them to surprise us with heroism and public service. The “CYA” pun in the title is their claiming ignorance to avoid charges of fraud is fair trade for being brave enough to make an accurate public statement.
I was joyfully surprised to discover California’s 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) reveals $600 billion in surplus taxpayer assets that create game-changing options with our $16 billion budget deficit. These surplus assets over 35 times the deficit can, and should, be reconsidered by public and professionals to address our budget deficit.
Even more astounding than $600 billion in surplus assets ($50,000 per household), California’s ~14,000 various government entities’ CAFRs have sampled-data total estimate of $8 trillion in surplus taxpayer assets ($650,000 per household). For example, page 63 of L.A. County’s 2011 CAFR shows $66 billion in cash and investments.
I apologize for previous false assumptions regarding these assets, appreciate the help I received from a constituent, and am pleased to act upon my corrected information by (state appropriate actions for Assembly, Senate, etc.). I also invite the public’s consideration and input.
Here’s more of what this data mean for the state’s 12 million households:
- Most of the state’s $600 billion cash and investments is explained as designated for funding state pensions. The CAFR data show the opposite: $27 billion in pension cost receives only $1 billion net income from $600 billion in withheld taxpayer assets (just 4%), fund “managers” receive over twice the net income as California pensions receive, and a massive $68 billion increase in “fair value of investments” in 2011 doesn’t translate to actual funding of pensions.
- Californians are taxed $19 billion to pay for pensions (95% of the public cost) while also losing their $50,000/household in assets the state withholds. Since 2008, the fund has been “managed” to cost taxpayers more than the net income it produces.
- Governor Brown is silent about the $600 billion in surplus cash and investments, claiming the $16 billion budget deficit can only be addressed by austerity – massive funding cuts to our essential infrastructure. A 2.8% divestment of the fund would cover the $16 billion deficit, as one option.
- This CAFR data-disclosed $8 trillion can be considered in context of California having its own bank to provide at-cost credit for local government entities. This means their “rainy day” funds in collective colossal amounts could be redirected back to Californians. AB 750, passed by Senate and Assembly but vetoed by Governor Brown, was a study to document advantages of the state having its own bank. The current version is AB 2500.
So the natural question is if the state’s withholding $600 billion in surplus assets do not fund pensions, address a budget deficit, or prevent devastation to infrastructure, how can we best restructure the purpose and use of OUR MONEY for optimal public benefits?