Shall Be Master?
Union bosses and tax and spenders win…
[by Jon Coupal] 11/16/05
of special election Propositions 75, 76 and 77 is especially
bad news for taxpayers. The big winners were government employee
union bosses who will continue to exercise unbridled power
over their members as well as the state budget process. The
second biggest winner is the tax-and-spend majority in the
Legislature whose reelection is now assured.
spent over $100 million to defeat measures that would have
required them to get permission before taking union members'
money for political purposes, that would have put mild limits
on increases in state spending, and that would have created
more competitive districts for elected officials.
Coupal is an attorney and president of the Howard
Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest
taxpayer organization with offices in Los Angeles
and Sacramento. [go to website] [go
to Coupal index]
Not since the campaign against Proposition 13 have we seen so
many dollars spent to broadcast so many lies about ballot measures.
Here again we saw government worker unions stepping forward
as a militant special interest intent on protecting and expanding
their power over the public purse. Add to this elected officials,
panicked over the possibility of having to run for reelection
in competitive districts, and you have a toxic mix that managed
to poison all reform measures on the special election ballot.
One piece of direct mail aimed at Republican voters, but financed
primarily by Democrats, appeared to be a jury summons. Inside,
it told the reader to vote for all the governor's reform measures
except Proposition 77, which would have changed the way political
districts are drawn. On television, negative ads focused on the
fact that the lines would be drawn by retired judges, but never
once said that final approval would be made by the voters.
One of the strangest
ads was on radio against Proposition 75, which would have required
public employee unions to get permission
before taking members' money to be spent on politics. The ad
was sponsored by a private sector union that would not have been
covered by Proposition 75. It urged voters to read the fine print
because there might be something in the measure that would have
an adverse effect on all unions. They had to use the word "might" because
there was nothing there in the fine print.
Deception by opponents of reform actually began with Attorney
General Bill Lockyer, who is responsible for writing the ballot
title and summary for each initiative.
Lockyer is well-remembered
by taxpayers for writing a summary for Proposition 39 -- a
measure that made it easier to increase
property taxes for school bonds -- that "forgot" to
mention that it reduced the two-thirds vote requirement that
was then in effect. Barely noticed by the press at that time
was the fact that Lockyer was a member of the committee sponsoring
For Proposition 76, a measure that would have placed mild limits
on spending, his summary implied that schools would suffer if
the measure passed. At the time he prepared his summary, Lockyer
was actively considering a run for governor against the measure's
sponsor, our current governor.
But now that the special election is over, taxpayers must move
on. For taxpayers the challenge remains to fight off the constant
barrage of anti-Proposition 13 legislation in the capitol and
the tax increase initiatives backed by the government worker
unions, while trying to gather strength to advance the taxpayers'
agenda. This includes reducing the tax burden for those struggling
to keep a roof over their heads and protecting homeowners from
abuse by officials who use eminent domain to seize private property
for the purpose of increasing income to government. This has
become an urgent matter because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court
decision that confirmed the right of government agencies to seize
private property so it can be turned over to other private interests.
If California taxpayers fail to defend their interests, the
consequences will be dire.
Years ago, government
workers were called public servants. Even though there are
still many hardworking public employees who
deserve our respect, if the union bosses continue to get their
way it could soon be the taxpayers who are called "servants." CRO
is an attorney and President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers
2005 Howard Jarvis Taxpayers association