Posted by Realist, a resident of another community, on Jun 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm
This is just a short-term appeasement of the problem. What really needs to happen is a permanent 20% cut in pay and a 25% cut in the number of state, county and city employees. Next we need to cut all pensions current and future by 20% except for peace officers who's pensions need to be cut by 33% back to the pre-1999 level when Gray Davis gave them a 50% increase. What also needs to happen is that the income tax rates need to be rebased so that all people in this state pay taxes and not just the upper 10% of wage earners. This way, everyone will experience the pain of out of control government spending and we will no longer have people screaming for more taxes and the repeal of prop 13.
Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Jun 19, 2009 at 11:31 am
Realist: “Next we need to cut all pensions current and future by 20% except for peace officers who's pensions need to be cut by 33% back to the pre-1999 level when Gray Davis gave them a 50% increase.”
I couldn't agree more, but we need to take this notion one step further by eliminating all govt. (taxpayer funded) defined benefit pension programs altogether (CalPERS, STRS, etc.).
All current govt. workers already in the system could be grandfathered in; any new hires after a date certain could become part of a defined contribution program, just like in the private sector. Corporate pension programs are beginning to go by the wayside, and the same should happen with govt. pensions. It’s a huge burden that has to end eventually.
Posted by CEASAR, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm
All great ideas.
However, the state legislators are beholden to the public employee unions. They would prefer to raise our taxes to pay for these ridiculously generous benefits.
Soon, the state and federal government will become wealth transfer mechanisms. No longer able to provide government services, they be simply tax its citizens to pay government empoyees. What a depressing outlook.
Posted by Sheerluck_Holmes, a resident of the Jensen Tract neighborhood, on Jun 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm
Unions helped create the middle-class in this country. Lack of union representation is hurting workers, just look at the high tech industry and the wholesale exporting of jobs overseas. There's a direct correlation between the number of union members and quality of life in America. Unions are far from perfect, but no organization is. I'm a member of the middle-class who appreciates the importance of labor being able to organize and bargain collectively. As individuals we don't have the resources to battle with corporate legal departments.
Posted by Oliver Heaviside, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Jun 21, 2009 at 7:53 am Oliver Heaviside is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The real problem isn't so much unions per se, as their interactions with political leaders. I'd suggest two changes in the law:
1) Every new public-sector union contract must be approved by the taxpayers themselves, via an election.
Why? It's too easy for politicians to buy off union votes by promising very generous benefits "down the road" - long after the politicians have left office. Vallejo has gone bankrupt, literally, because many city employees get retirement at 90% pay and full medical after 30 years. This means that the City must pay a pension and health care to 50-year olds, who are likely to live another 30-40 years.
We taxpayers have to foot the bill; we should have a direct vote in how much that bill is going to be.
2) Unions should have to follow the same rules for political contributions (including manpower) that corporations follow. Anyone would consider it a clear conflict of interest if a corporation could directly contribute millions to a candidate, or hire thousands of people to work on behalf of the candidate. Why then is it legal for a union to do so?
For what it's worth, I was a UAW member many years ago, when I worked in auto plants. GM, et.al. are dying because of stupid union rules. Too bad the union members are not being asked to shoulder more of the cost of the bankruptcies.