Union Contract Extensions Cost California Taxpayers Another 9.5%

Last month we reported that Governor Brown had agreed to one year contract extensions of four state employee union contracts set to expire this summer in the hope that the Governor’s proposed sales and income tax increases would be approved by voters in November thereby making available more money for raises and other benefits (see our April 10 post).  It turns out that was only half the story.  The Legislative Analyst’s Office has just released its report showing that two of the contract extensions are costing the state and taxpayers another 9.5% increase in costs due to provisions in those contracts requiring the state to pay increased employee health care costs.

The two contracts in question are the International Union of Operating Engineers and the California Association of Psychiatric Techncians.  The contracts together cover 24,000 employees including equipment operators, social service professionals, psychiatric technicians and doctors.

Is it any wonder citizens are loosing faith in their government?  First, the Governor tells us his proposed tax increases will be used for education funding.  In fact the taxes will go to the general fund, only a portion of which is allocated to education, and even that portion will be used by local school districts to pay down their unfunded pension liability to CalSTRS rather than improvements in the classroom.  Second, the Governor sells his tax proposal as a “millionaire’s tax” when in fact it is an across the board sales tax increase coupled with income tax increases for those making over $250,000.  Third, the Governor extends four expiring union contracts in the hope those same proposed taxes will create additional funds for union employee benefits.  And finally, the mere act of extending the contracts results in an additional 9.5% cost to the state for increased employee health care costs.  Regardless of your personal political leanings, there is simply no excuse for this type of deceipt.

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