July 12, 2012
The whole point of a state or local government keeping money in reserve for fiscal emergencies is to have it on hand for - well, for fiscal emergencies. What does an emergency look like? It could take the form of an earthquake or other natural disaster that creates a need for immediate rescue expenditures while shutting down revenue-producing businesses for weeks, months or longer. Or it could come in the shape of economic collapse. Or in some form we can't currently imagine. Money socked away in reserve, often called a "rainy-day fund," can help the struggling city, county or state continue to operate during the emergency.
January 2, 2011 |
As he leaves office, Arnold Schwarzenegger is emphasizing his successes as governor. But it is his failures that need more public attention, because they may represent his greatest and most lasting contribution to California. To understand this governorship, one must recognize a fundamental dichotomy. On matters in which Schwarzenegger had a healthy amount of control ? orders he could execute with a pen, legislation that could pass with a simple majority of the Legislature, even ballot initiatives he could champion and pay for personally ?
December 19, 2010 |
Dear Liz: We just refinanced our $100,000 mortgage into a 15-year fixed-rate loan at 3.75%. We have an extra $500 a month and want to know what we should do with it. Should we use the money to pay off the mortgage early, increase the contribution to my 403(b), or start a rainy day fund and try to save up to three months of my take-home salary? I'm 44, my wife is 35, and we have three kids ages 5, 3 and 9 months. I would like to retire in 16 years. Answer: At least two of your children won't be through college by the time you want to retire, so you may need to rethink your plans unless you have an exceptionally generous pension or a lot of money saved in that 403(b)
July 6, 2010
Between the disastrous budget years that helped push Gov. Gray Davis from office in 2003 and the disastrous budget years that have plagued the second term of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, there was one year — 2006 — when everything seemed rosy. The mortgage market was booming, the economy was humming, and the governor proposed a budget that continued to pay down Davis-era debt. Democrats in the Legislature instead tried to use some of that money for program expansions. As usual, they and the governor locked horns, but gently, given the comfortable level of revenue expected.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 13, 2010
Steve Poizner Political party: Republican Occupation: state insurance commissioner Age: 53, born Corpus Christi, Texas City of residence: Los Gatos, Calif. Personal: wife Carol, one daughter Education: bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, University of Texas; MBA, Stanford University Career highlights: founder, 1983, Strategic Mapping software company; founder, 1995, SnapTrack Inc.; director, Critical Infrastructure Protection, National Security Council, 2001-02; volunteer teacher, Mount Pleasant High School, San Jose, 2002-03; state insurance commissioner, 2007 to present.
February 2, 2010
Los Angeles is facing an immediate budget gap of $199 million that must be closed by June 30, the end of the fiscal year. It also has a reserve fund of $189 million. Shouldn't the city tap that fund so that it has to find only $10 million in cuts, rather than go through the wrenching process of layoffs and department consolidations to cover the full amount? No, it shouldn't. The city should leave the reserve fund intact and, if anything, should boost it to $220 million to meet its policy target of 5% of the budget.