Pension expert David Crane, a Stanford lecturer and former Gov. Schwarzenegger's top pension adviser, threw water on Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to raise taxes. In Crane's view, a tax hike that doesn't address the state's massive unfunded pension liabilities won't do much to save current services. This is significant because Crane is well respected and he comes from the Left side of the political spectrum. He writes in the Sacramento Bee:
Brown is right in seeking to prevent further erosion of existing services, but a tax increase without reform won't achieve that objective. Worse, a tax increase in the absence of reform would mask those problems, leading to even larger leakages down the road and even greater degradation of services. At a minimum, the governor and Legislature must demonstrate how the new revenues really would benefit existing services. It's not fatal if the new money goes to those items - provided reforms are enacted to close those leakages going forward. But a tax increase without reform would be lethal.Those are good points. I wish he and others on the Left would make this point: There are myriad ways to get more bang for the taxpayer buck if we consider private alternatives to state-run services. But at least some serious liberals understand the perils of tax increases.