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WE HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS...

After five years of opening California’s governments to the public, developing data-driven policy analysis, and educating citizens about how California governments work, the California Common Sense team is proud to announce our nationwide expansion to United States Common Sense.

Our mission remains the same, but we are excited to now provide data, open government resources, and analysis relevant to all 50 states and their local governments.

In addition to our CACS work, you can find our newly-enhanced nationwide research and data products at UScommonsense.org.

With your support, we’ll continue striving to make governments across the country more open, more accessible, and more accountable to you.

Sincerely,

The US Common Sense Team


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USCS in the Press

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TED: Why I’m teaching prisoners to code

What we learned about issues facing the prison system today was shocking: From 1972 to 2010, the number of people in prison in the US had increased 700 percent. 25% of the world’s incarcerated population is in the US. In California, we spend more on prisons than on higher education. It costs around $47,000 to keep one prisoner in jail in California for one year. More than 67% of the state prisoners released in 2005 were arrested within the next three years. http://ideas.ted.com/why-im-teaching-prisoners-to-code/
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SF Chronicle – California’s $400 billion debt worries analysts

When asked about California’s $400 billion in debt and what can be done to avoid financial ruin, Autumn Carter of California Common Sense replied, “There is nothing that says we have to fall into financial ruin. There is still time to turn it around. We can still attack debt and tackle the cost growth associated with pensions and retiree health care, but we have to be willing to do it.” 

http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/California-s-400-billion-debt-worries-analysts-6812264.php

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EdSource – ‘Destined for great things’: Low-income students ask educators to believe they can succeed

When asked to identify the top three resources needed to graduate and be prepared for college or a career, 80 percent of the students surveyed selected “quality teachers” as the most important. That choice was followed by tutoring and after-school programs, chosen by 48 percent of students, and “challenging classes,” chosen by 46 percent of students. But the report acknowledged that California teachers often don’t have the time they need to connect with students, in part because of high student-to-teacher ratios at schools. According to California Common Sense, a Mountain View-based nonprofit policy organization, in 2012-13, the most recent data available, California had a student-to-teacher ratio of 25 to 1, the highest in the nation and well above the 15-to-1 national average.

http://edsource.org/2015/destined-for-great-things-low-income-students-ask-educators-to-believe-they-can-succeed/90314

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Reason – Stockton’s Pension Struggles Offer Lessons for California

Other cities will likewise find limited ability to raise new revenues as CalPERS continues its plan to ramp up its bill for cities that participate in its pension plan. Yet Sacramento officials act as if the pension problem is gone. There’s hardly an issue legislators didn’t try to address in the recently concluded legislative session, yet nothing of substance to deal with growing pension debts. The good-government group California Common Sense confirms that the state’s unfunded pension liabilities continue to show a pattern of steady increases. https://reason.com/archives/2015/10/02/stocktons-penson-struggles-offer-lessons
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Fox & Hounds – Only Voters Can Solve California’s Pension Crisis

The State Controller also reports nearly $200 billion in unfunded liabilities for state and local pension obligations. California Common Sense calculates another $150 billion of unfunded liabilities for state and local retiree healthcare obligations. That’s $350 billion in unfunded legacy liabilities that are driving massive cost increases, again:
  • CalPERS has told its agencies to be prepared for increases in their contributions for 50% over 5 years.
  • CalSTRS has told school districts to prepare for increases of more than 100% over the next few years.
http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2015/07/only-voters-can-solve-californias-pension-crisis/

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