Calfornia Reaping What Jerry Brown Planted in the 1970s

Calfornia Reaping What Jerry Brown Planted in the 1970s

It's not often that a politician has to deal with a problem he created nearly twenty-five years ago. Most politicians sacrifice the short-term political benefit and leave the political headache to future generations of taxpayers and politicians. That's why it is ironic that while Jerry Brown wrestles with a spending and debt crisis in California he is forced to deal with a problem of his own making. In 1976, during Brown's first term as governor, he approved collective bargaining rights for government workers. Since that decision, the government workers unions power and influence have grown California's government spending through the roof as they bargained against the taxpayers for greater salary and benefits that many of their private sector counterparts. One thing you can say about Jerry Brown is that politics runs through his veins. Since 1976, Brown has been defeated for re-election, run for the presidency, elected mayor of a large city and won the governorship again forcing him to deal with a $16 billion deficits and a powerful opposition for reform from government union bosses -- union bosses empowered by his 1976 decision. Brown's solution to this problem shows that while he may have extraordinary staying power he has underwhelming temerity. While he talks about taking on the special interests and making drastic cuts to the state's budget, he is offering large tax increases and minor reforms to the power of the unions. Should the state defeat his tax increase initiative this November, he will be forced to take on the monster of his own making. Don't count on Jerry Brown asking that California become a Right to Work state but it would be a sign that he was serious in addressing the problem of his own making. Chriss Street at Breitbart looks at this problem in greater detail:

Union's Keep Pushing Taxes Higher in California

Who can forget the Chicago Teachers Union Activist above, but that attitude does not seem to be exclusive to Illinois.  California Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing a new scheme to force tax increases on the taxpayers in the Golden State and not surprisingly, it is the teacher's union pushing the plan behind the curtain?  From the OCRegister: Gov. Jerry Brown says the odds improved last week that voters will approve tax increases in November because he and the California Federation of Teachers merged their separate tax-raising schemes into one. This was not a compromise. Mr. Brown caved in to union pressure. Public employee unions were major financial backers of the governor's 2010 election campaign. In seeking huge tax increases to pay for government spending, he is doing unions' bidding. By merging initiatives, Mr. Brown agreed to reduce the increase he sought in the sales tax from a half cent to a quarter cent. But he agreed to seek a larger income-tax increase tax on more-affluent taxpayers. The new initiative would raise the top tax rate by 1 percent for those earning $250,000, 2 percent for incomes exceeding $300,000 and 3 percent on $500,000 and more. The state's top rate already is 10.3 percent, for those earning $1 million a year. The combined initiative is projected to raise $9 billion compared with the $7 billion the governor previously proposed. The tax increases would last seven years, rather than the previous five years.

Union's Keep Pushing Taxes Higher in California

Who can forget the Chicago Teachers Union Activist above, but that attitude does not seem to be exclusive to Illinois.  California Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing a new scheme to force tax increases on the taxpayers in the Golden State and not surprisingly, it is the teacher's union pushing the plan behind the curtain?  From the OCRegister: Gov. Jerry Brown says the odds improved last week that voters will approve tax increases in November because he and the California Federation of Teachers merged their separate tax-raising schemes into one. This was not a compromise. Mr. Brown caved in to union pressure. Public employee unions were major financial backers of the governor's 2010 election campaign. In seeking huge tax increases to pay for government spending, he is doing unions' bidding. By merging initiatives, Mr. Brown agreed to reduce the increase he sought in the sales tax from a half cent to a quarter cent. But he agreed to seek a larger income-tax increase tax on more-affluent taxpayers. The new initiative would raise the top tax rate by 1 percent for those earning $250,000, 2 percent for incomes exceeding $300,000 and 3 percent on $500,000 and more. The state's top rate already is 10.3 percent, for those earning $1 million a year. The combined initiative is projected to raise $9 billion compared with the $7 billion the governor previously proposed. The tax increases would last seven years, rather than the previous five years.

Union Bosses Fight for Dues Money

The widely respected political journalist Michael Barone's take on the battle of Wisconsin: Everyone has priorities. During the past week Barack Obama has found no time to condemn the attacks that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has launched on the Libyan people. But he did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television station and weigh in on the dispute between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state's public employee unions. Walker was staging "an assault on unions," he said, and added that "public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens." Enormous contributions, yes -- to the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign. Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle. Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.

Change in Wisconsin

Change in Wisconsin

 Newly elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not backing down from a fight to protect taxpayers.  Walker has proposed reforming the state's collective bargaining laws to protect taxpayers.  The Wall Street Journal takes note:  Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker has laid out an ambitious agenda, such as turning the department of commerce into a public-private partnership and lifting the cap on school vouchers. But his boldest idea may be rescinding the right of government employees to collectively bargain. Mr. Walker floated the idea last week in response to union opposition to his modest proposal to require employees to contribute 5% of their pay to their pensions and to increase their health-care contributions to 12% from as low as 4% today. Even along the Left Coast most state workers contribute 10% of their salary to pensions. The Republican estimates that these changes would save the state $154 million in the first six months. Over two years they'd reduce the state's $3.3 billion budget gap by nearly 20%. The ability of public workers to form unions and bargain collectively is a phenomenon of the last century when state and local governments were relatively small. But it has proven to be a catastrophe for taxpayers, as public unions have used their political clout to negotiate rich deals on wages, pensions and health care. California governor-elect Jerry Brown greased the wheels for his state's long fiscal decline when he allowed collective bargaining during his first stint in the statehouse in the 1970s. Republican Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana and then Governor Matt Blunt of Missouri rescinded collective bargaining by executive order in 2005, and the change made it easier to cut spending and restructure government services. In Wisconsin, the legislature would have to rewrite the Employment Labor Relations Act, but Republicans will control both the assembly and senate and have the political incentive to go along with Mr. Walker.Rescinding public collective bargaining rights restores a better negotiating balance between taxpayers and government employees who ostensibly work for them. Political officials are no longer on both sides of the bargaining table—representing taxpayers in negotiations with the unions while seeking union cash and endorsements when running for re-election.