Robin's Feed
Oct 21, 2015

Firms question how carbon levy will fund California rail project

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Private firms looking to build California’s $68 billion high-speed train system have concerns about the state’s ability to finance some of the project’s cost through an untested ‘cap-and-trade’ carbon trading levy.

The doubts, mentioned in correspondence to the state and reviewed by Reuters through a public records request, are not likely to stall financing for the United States’ largest infrastructure project, but indicate a tentativeness among firms to use the money as a stand-alone money-generating tool.

Oct 17, 2015

Chinese firms want to build, finance California high-speed train

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A team of Chinese firms, along with the Export-Import Bank of China, wants to build and finance a large part of California’s proposed 800-mile high-speed rail project.

The firms expressed their interest last month in a 23-page document sent to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The authority asked private companies from around the globe to help shape the state’s strategy to launch the first stage of its train line, considered the most ambitious infrastructure project in the United States.

Oct 15, 2015

Most California cities back new pension strategy despite cost

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Most California cities
support a new strategy by the nation’s largest public pension
fund to make its investment portfolio more conservative, even
though the move could gradually increase how much employers pay
into the fund.

Still, some cities expressed serious reservations about a
California Public Employees’ Retirement System plan to
incrementally lower the $293 billion fund’s assumed rate of
investment returns following periods of strong performance.

Oct 12, 2015

California Treasurer calls for private equity fee disclosure

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California’s state treasurer, John Chiang, on Monday called for state legislation requiring private equity firms to disclose all fees charged to California public pension funds.

In a letter to the country’s two largest public pension funds, Chiang said the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, along with other limited partners, “pay excessive fees to private equity firms and do not have sufficient visibility into the nature and amount of those fees.”

Oct 2, 2015

McCarthy as Speaker would not stop California rail project-official

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) – The possible appointment of a long-term critic of California’s high-speed rail plan to Speaker of the House would not hinder the $68 billion project, a leading official told Reuters on Friday.

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, favorite to succeed John Boehner as House Speaker later this month, would have much greater say in shaping Congress’ federal spending agenda, if appointed to the post.

Sep 29, 2015

Foreign firms, consortiums interested in California rail work

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Thirty-five construction companies, financiers, train manufacturers and operators from around the world have expressed interest in working on California’s $68 billion high-speed train.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) asked for input from interested parties to help shape the state’s strategy to build, finance, and run the first stage of an 800-mile (1,287-km) high-speed rail line, considered the most ambitious infrastructure project currently planned in the United States.

Sep 2, 2015

Special Report: Renowned U.S. drug-rehab program spun out of control

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Martin Szczupak had already been in and out of rehab when, for a misdemeanor possession charge, a judge sent the 21-year-old heroin addict to a century-old estate in the wooded hills of upstate New York for another chance to clean up.

Belle Terre, the former home of a 19th-century copper baron, housed the 168-bed Phoenix House Delaware County Center, a private, nonprofit residential drug treatment facility. When Szczupak arrived in June 2012, all was not well behind Belle Terre’s stately walls.

Jul 23, 2015

Some public hospitals win, others lose with Obamacare

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A year and a half after the Affordable Care Act brought widespread reforms to the U.S. healthcare system, Chicago’s Cook County Health & Hospitals System has made its first profit in 180 years.

Seven hundred miles south, the fortunes of Atlanta’s primary public hospital, Grady Health System, haven’t improved, and it remains as dependent as ever on philanthropy and county funding to stay afloat.

Jul 15, 2015

Calpers chief looks to cut volatility as fund enters negative cash-flow era

WALNUT CREEK, California (Reuters) – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, projected to have negative cash flow for at least the next 15 years, is looking to recast investment priorities to slash the complexity and volatility embedded in its $301-billion portfolio, officials said on Tuesday.

Fund officials, recognizing that the wave of retiring baby boomers means it will pay out more in benefits than it takes in from contributions and investment income – a gap that could reach $10 billion by 2030 – are expecting to pivot more toward assets that deliver reliable income than in the past.

Jul 2, 2015

S&P lifts rating of California debt, signaling fiscal health

SAN FRANCISCO, July 2 (Reuters) – Standard & Poor’s Rating
Agency upgraded California’s general obligation debt on Thursday
to “AA-” from “A+”, marking another sign of the state’s
financial recovery.

The one-notch upgrade gives California GO debt the highest
rating from S&P since 2000. That was when the dot-com bust hit
the state’s economy hard, prompting a series of credit
downgrades and years of chronic budget problems.