There may be nothing as predictable in California public affairs as the unions that represent workers whose salaries are paid by taxes. History tells us we should not be surprised that even as lawmakers consider a budget that would overspend revenue by $20 billion, and even as private-sector unemployment hovers at record highs, the best these unions can suggest is to increase taxes.
The proposed taxes include a 10-percent increase in the tax on alcohol, an additional $1.50 tax on cigarettes, extending sales tax to nontaxed service industries, boosting top income-tax brackets by 10 percent and 11 percent and increasing vehicle-license fees to the level they were before a 2003 reduction.
The unions advance their self-interest unashamedly, defending their constituencies from layoffs and from a downscaling of the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed.
But the rest of Californians, who are asked to bear the tax burden, have self-interests to protect, as well. We urge them to protect themselves from the ravenous appetite of public employee unions by urging their representatives and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reject all calls for more taxes.
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Will California voters have the courage to say NO to the public employee unions who want to bankrupt the state to protect their pensions and lifesyles? A couple of years back I would have been sceptical. But Obama/Pelosi/Reid have sent deficits sky-high and voters are paying attention to financial reckelessness by government.
And hey, if a blue state like New Jersey can stand up to the big-spenders, so can California.