California Agencies Fail to Submit Timely Financial Data

With Californians about to enter their second year of restricted economic activity, and with all the resulting financial anxiety and hardship, it’s unfortunate that accurate and timely financial information isn’t available for the vast public sector. While public sector budgets and projections abound, actual audited financial data for recently completed fiscal years is subject to unnecessary months, if not years, of delay.

One of the few areas of excellence in California’s vast public sector bureaucracies is its public pay database. Initiated under former California State Controller John Chiang and continued by Betty Yee who replaced Chiang in 2015, this “Government Compensation in California” website offers an unvarnished and detailed look into how much we pay our public servants. That’s a look worth having, especially for 2020, a year that saw private sector workers and small business owners watch their income and wealth slip away. But don’t hold your breath.

The raw data the state controller makes available can be sorted by agency, it includes a record for every full or part-time state or local public employee, and for each record there is considerable detail, including base pay, overtime pay, “other” pay, deferred pay, health insurance, pension fund contributions, and more. To be sure, the data isn’t perfectly consistent or complete. Pension fund contributions may or may not include the payments to reduce the unfunded liability, despite the fact that the unfunded pension payment is now usually twice as much, or more, than the so-called normal pension contribution. The […] Read More