Monday, October 29, 2012


According to critics of Proposition 32 – the measure whose most important provision would ban automatic deduction of union dues from public employees’ paychecks – it is an all-out assault on the California middle class. - UT San Diego Editorial Board

Here’s what it actually is: a check on public employee unions, whose control of Sacramento directly stems from the vast political warchests they accumulate through automatic deduction of members’ dues. According to a state report, from 2000-2010, the California Teachers Association spent $212 million on political campaigns and lobbying – far more than any other entity. In second place was the California State Council of Service Employees, affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, which spent $107 million.

What has this money bought in Sacramento since Gray Davis replaced Pete Wilson as governor? Lots.

• The union-dominated Legislature passed a measure in 1999 providing an immediate 50 percent retroactive pension increase for all state employees, a shocking giveaway matched by many local governments up and down California.

• In good times, when revenues were rolling into Sacramento from 2003-2007, the main beneficiaries were unionized teachers and prison guards. During that period, state spending on welfare and safety-net programs grew by barely the rate of inflation, while spending on schools and prisons went up by at least four times inflation.

• In bad times, when revenue went down, the main “stakeholders” being insulated from the fallout were state employees. Instead of the absolute pay freeze with layoffs that would be the difficult norm in any large organization struggling to make ends meet, state workers were required to take some unpaid days off – and even that was bitterly fought in court. Who suffered the most from budget cuts? The infirm elderly and those who rely on safety-net programs. And there's more...