Monday, May 16, 2011

Legislature Completes Jerry Brown's Capitulation to Unions

If the release of Jerry Brown's awful budget revision didn't get you drinking today, we've got some news that should get you out to happy hour. (For the record, we are enjoying a glass of something as we write this.) According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Assembly has approved SB 151, sending six contracts covering 50,000 state workers to Gov. Brown's desk for signature.

Why is this such a kick in the stomach? Well, these are the contracts that Jerry Brown negotiated with powerful labor unions, including those representing the state's prison guards, scientists, and engineers. The agreements show Sacramento politics at their worst: while publicly decrying the government's excessive spending and calling for everyone to sacrifice to fix the budget, Brown capitulated to the unions that pushed him into office, asking for almost nothing by way of sacrifices from them. What's worse, he misstated the savings from the pacts by neglecting to count the new goodies given to the unions against their concessions. These goodies include ending the furlough policies imposed by the Kindergarten Cop in 2009, raises for top-earning workers in 2013, and removing the limits on how much paid vacation and sick time prison guards can accrue (even the LA Times thinks this last is a problem). This $129 million error has lurked in the background of the 2011-12 budget process ever since, and if you're wondering, no, Brown's revised figures from today don't account for it either.

This is truly a sad day in the long history of California taxpayers being pillaged by their government.


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