Bill will waste tax money |

Bill will waste tax money

State Senate Bill 371 is slated for Gov. Davis’ signature by the end of this month and will affect you as a taxpayer, if signed into law.

I am a state-certified Spanish court interpreter. Unless you are a judge or attorney, our professional paths will never cross. What happens to my colleagues and me, however, may very soon have an impact on you. Currently, certified court interpreters work as independent contractors within the court system. We are called up on an as-needed basis. Some Superior Courts that have large interpreter needs (I.e., Fresno, Los Angeles) offer full-time positions. Few interpreters seek these positions, however, because we can earn a great deal more money working as independent contractors for both the courts and private entities.

Here’s where you come in. Every time I walk into court, you are paying my salary. But since most of my colleagues and I (98 percent of the 1,300 certified interpreters statewide) are independent contractors, you are not paying for extras such as health and retirement benefits.

If signed into law, Senate Bill 371 will make it mandatory for every interpreter who chooses to work in court to become a unionized state employee, at an initial cost of over $5 million and annual costs of $3.8 million. Funded by whom? You.

In other words, one job for every applicant with full salary and benefits paid for by the California taxpayer. The concept of one job for every applicant is socialist in nature and inherently unsound economic policy.

Given the governor’s and the Assembly’s agreement to end the record-breaking budget impasse, would it make sense to throw in a new batch of tax-dependent state employees into the process?

The AFL-CIO seems to think so, but I don’t.

Please call the governor’s office at (916) 445-2841 or write him at:

Gov. Gray Davis, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Ask him to veto Senate Bill 371.

Andrew Erickson

Nevada City

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