California continues to distinguish itself as the most fiscally mismanaged state in the Union. Our cities are going bankrupt, our schools are failing, and our state continues to produce record deficits, despite a state constitution requiring a balanced budget.
The credit rating of the state remains among the nation’s lowest, requiring ever more precious tax dollars just to service our bond indebtedness. Local cities and school districts throughout the state have numerous tax increase measures on the ballot that wouldn’t be necessary if not for the continued negligence of our governor and state Legislature, which has resulted in high unemployment, fewer taxpayers and reduced tax revenues.
California citizens are saddled with this fiscal mess even while suffering from the second highest personal income tax rates and the highest state sales taxes in the country. So what’s Gov. Brown’s solution? Just raise our already high tax rates another notch or two, making our state even more uncompetitive in attracting small businesses and jobs to California.
Californians can begin to address these problems by taking matters into their own hands this election. The two most critical initiatives on the general election ballot this year are Propositions 30 and 32. We must overwhelmingly reject Prop. 30 and approve Prop. 32.
Prop. 30 is Gov. Brown’s ill-conceived and ill-designed tax increase initiative that threatens voters with more cuts to schools and public safety services if we don’t agree to send even more of our dollars for the state to mismanage. This is voter blackmail in its ugliest form.
While we continue to fund billions of dollars into the most lavish pension and health benefit programs for public employees; while we continue to fund billions into a high speed rail service that Californians don’t want; and after the Legislature grants significant salary increases to its own senior staffers, our governor claims that if his Proposition 30 doesn’t pass, the only areas for cuts are education and public safety. Sorry, governor we’re not buying it!
Prop. 32 will remove the stranglehold that special interest money has had over the California state government for decades. It applies the exact same guidelines to unions and corporations “banning the practice of raising money for political purposes through employee payroll deduction. Unions and corporations will both be prohibited from contributing money directly to candidates.
Let’s be candid here.
Does Prop. 32 potentially harm unions in their efforts to raise political cash more than it does the business community? No question about it. Unions make it extremely difficult for their members to voluntarily opt-out of paying dues used for political purposes. But when given the free choice (see Wisconsin), union employees overwhelmingly choose to keep these dollars in their own bank account and away from their union masters. Union members will continue to be able to contribute as much as they have and as much as they want to their union’s political campaigns.
Nothing in Prop. 32 removes that privilege. But experience tells us that when the enforced collection of political dollars through payroll deduction is prohibited, political dollars flowing to unions drops like a rock. California’s Legislature has been controlled by the Democrats for five decades, due exclusively to union dollars that pay for their re-election and control their votes. That union-bought Democrat-controlled Legislature has driven our once Golden State into an abyss.
We have a fantastic opportunity to stop this California financial train wreck. Passage of Proposition 32 will do more to begin to fix the financial debacle in this state than any other initiative in years.
Californians have a clear choice and an all-important opportunity to get our state back on a track to fiscal responsibility. Please vote “No” on Proposition 30 and “Yes” on Proposition 32. Our state’s future depends on it.
Richard R. Ulery is Chairman of the Nevada County Republican Party.
That union-bought Democrat-controlled Legislature has driven our once Golden State into an abyss.