STEVEN MALANGA AND CHUCK REED
Tough Choices for California: What Public Pension Liability Means for Your Future
THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2014
State and local government pensions across the country are collectively underfunded by at least $1 trillion and the heavy burden of public pension obligations is a primary factor in the recent wave of municipal bankruptcies. In California, unfunded public pension liabilities are a cloud looming over not only the state budget, but also those of many local governments. Last year, Moody’s Investor Services placed 30 California cities on review for possible ratings downgrades. As pension obligations consume an increasing portion of public budgets, a shrinking share is left for services. Join us for a discussion of the public pension crisis and what it means for the future.
Steven Malanga is City Journal’s senior editor, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, and a former RealClearMarkets.com columnist. He is author of the recently published Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer, about the bankrupting of state and local governments by a new political powerhouse led by public-sector unions. He writes about the intersection of urban economies, business communities, and public policy. Prior to joining City Journal, Malanga was at Crain’s New York Business, first as managing editor and then executive editor, for fourteen years. In 1995, Malanga was a finalist for a Gerald Loeb Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism for the series “Nonprofits: New York’s new Tammany Hall,” which he co-authored. Malanga has also written articles on various topics for The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and other publications.
Chuck Reed was elected as the 64th Mayor of San José in 2006, after serving six years on the City Council as an independent voice for fiscal responsibility and reform. Since taking office, Mayor Reed has been committed to improving the quality of life in the city, boosting the public’s trust in local government, and eliminating the City’s structural budget deficit. He is one of the leading voices in California calling for public pension reform, fighting for reforms in San Jose and spearheading an effort for a state-wide ballot initiative. Mayor Reed attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and served in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He also received a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University and graduated from Stanford Law School. After passing the bar, he worked as an attorney in San José handling environmental, employment, land use and real estate law, as well as commercial litigation.
California’s Budget and Choices for the Future
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2014
On January 9, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2014-15 budget for the state. Recent increases in personal income tax revenues have improved the state’s budget conditions significantly and the $151 billion proposal reflects an increase in general fund spending of $11 billion. The proposed budget would continue California’s recent progress toward a firmer fiscal footing by paying down some of the state’s “wall of debt” and proposing a $2.3 billion reserve. While critics praise these measures they argue that the proposed budget does not do enough to address California’s massive pension liabilities. As Director of the California Department of Finance, Michael Cohen directs the development of Governor Brown’s budget. He will provide an overview of key budget decisions and discuss the outlook for California’s fiscal future.
Michael Cohen was appointed as Director of the California Department of Finance by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2013. He serves as the Governor’s chief fiscal policy advisor. Prior to becoming Director, he served as Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Finance from 2011 to 2013. In this capacity, Mr. Cohen was the department’s lead contact with the state Legislature on the state budget. From 1997 to 2010, Mr. Cohen worked at the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). While there, he served as a local government finance analyst, Director of State Administration, and Deputy Legislative Analyst.
Mr. Cohen earned a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University.
Boston and Beyond: Homeland Security and the Hometown
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2013
The Boston Marathon bombings of last April brought renewed attention to the issue of terrorism within the United States. While federal authorities played an important role in breaking the case, state and local police were also crucial. As the former Governor of Pennsylvania and the first Secretary of the federal Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge is uniquely qualified to discuss the role of state and local governments in fighting terrorism. Governor Ridge will survey the relationship between them and the federal government, how that relationship has developed, and where it is headed.
Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serving until February 2005. The creation of the country’s 15th Cabinet Department marked the largest reorganization of government since the Truman administration and another call to service for the former soldier, congressman and governor of Pennsylvania. During his DHS tenure, Secretary Ridge worked with more than 180,000-plus employees from a combined 22 agencies to create an agency that facilitated the flow of people and goods, instituted layered security at air, land and seaports, developed a unified national response and recovery plan, protected critical infrastructure, integrated new technology and improved information sharing worldwide. Mr. Ridge previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six terms from 1983 to 1995, and was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania, serving as the state’s 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001. Governor Ridge’s aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state’s advances in economic development, education, health care and the environment.
Secretary Ridge is currently president and CEO of Ridge Global, an international security and risk management advisory firm, headquartered in Washington, DC. In March of this year, Secretary Ridge co-founded, with former White House cyber czar Howard Schmidt, the strategic advisory firm, Ridge Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cybersecurity.
KEN MILLER, moderator
The Voting Rights Act after Shelby County v. Holder
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19
In Shelby County v. Holder (2013), a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. CMC Associate Professor of Government Ken Miller will moderate a discussion between Bruce Cain and Marguerite Leoni, two leading experts on the Voting Rights Act, on the history of the Act, the issues decided in this case, and the consequences of the court’s ruling for elections in the United States. Sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.
Bruce E. Cain is a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. He received a B.A. from Bowdoin College (1970), a B Phil. from Oxford University (1972) as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University (1976). He previously taught at Caltech and U.C. Berkeley, where he served as Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies 1990-2007. He was elected the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (Caltech 1988 and U.C. Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000).
Marguerite Leoni is a partner at Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP, specializing in law and civil litigation relating to elections, redistricting and voting rights questions, school district reorganization law, campaign, government and initiative/referendum law including appellate practice and extraordinary writ proceedings. Ms. Leoni is a nationally renowned redistricting and voting rights expert with expertise in administrative preclearance practice under Section 5 of the Federal Voting Rights Act and Section 5 enforcement litigation. Ms. Leoni graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Ms. Leoni has been a guest lecturer on the Voting Rights Act at Hastings College of the Law and has spoken at numerous forums concerning voting rights and election issues.
The Rose Institute Board of Governors
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17
Henry Olsen, a lawyer by training, is the director of AEI’s National Research Initiative. In that capacity, he identifies leading academics and public intellectuals who work in an aspect of domestic public policy and recruits them to visit or write for AEI. Mr. Olsen studies and writes about the policy and political implications of long-term trends in social, economic, and political thought.