California finding it more Difficult to Pass On the High Cost of Union Contracts to the Taxpayers

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 5th, 2012

Week in Review

Have the California taxpayers reached their limit in paying new taxes?  Perhaps (see Cash-strapped California cities back off asking voters to hike taxes by Ronald Grover posted 8/2/2012 on Reuters).

Over the past six months, city councils in at least seven municipalities invoked a state law which allows them to put tax hikes on the ballot much more quickly in the event of a “fiscal emergency.”

Burdened by expensive public employee contracts and the fall-out from the housing meltdown, the cities are struggling to avoid the fate Stockton and San Bernardino, both of which recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

But now some of those cities are thinking twice about the wisdom of seeking tax hikes…

The retreat reflects political realities in California, where tax increases often generate noisy and well-funded opposition from business groups and self-styled taxpayer advocates…

“Voters are getting very angry that their government keeps coming back and asking for more money,” said Darry Sragow, managing partner of the law firm SNR Denton in Los Angeles and a long-time Democratic campaign strategist. “The voter is saying, ‘I’m cutting back, you should be doing the same thing…'”

The city of El Monte, outside Los Angeles, opted for a different kind of approach. On July 24 it put a proposal on the November ballot to increase taxes on sugary drinks, a move it said would help it fight obesity among its children.

The proposal drew immediate opposition from industry groups who were fighting a similar tax proposed two months earlier by the city of Richmond, California.

“This tax is a sign of the times,” said Bob Achermann, executive director of the Californa/Nevada Soft Drink Association, said. “City governments are looking for revenue. We think this is a misguided approach.”

It is interesting that while it’s the cost of union contracts (salary and benefits, including pensions and health care) causing these crippling deficits they always threaten to lay off cops and firefighters if the voters don’t approve new taxes.  If it’s the union contracts that are causing the problem why are they not addressing the union contracts?  Instead of trying to tax cigarettes or sugary beverages?  While lying to us that this will pay for public health initiatives or make our children healthier?  When it will only go to pay for those union contracts that they can no longer afford?  Passing this cost onto the taxpayers who don’t have such generous pay and benefit packages?  Why?

Because there is a symbiotic relationship between government and unions.  Government gives them generous contracts.  And unions provide campaign cash and foot soldiers for elections.  While passing the high cost of this relationship on to the taxpayers.  Again, those people that don’t have such generous pay and benefit packages.  This is why governments will turn voters upside down and shake them for every last dollar they can get out of them.  So they and the unions can live very comfortable lives.  While the rest of us don’t.

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