So this is what our politicians are working on, ALL OF THEM, while claiming pension reform is one of our biggest issues. Apparently six figure pensions as early as age 50 and lifetime medical benefits aren't enough. While the governor is claiming the state is broke and asking for more money from taxpayer wallets (as if the train to nowhere isn't evidence of enough that there is a HUGE disconnect between Sacramento, the UNIONS, and our money), there is new evidence to suggest just how screwed-up California really is. That evidence comes in the form of AB 2451.
While most states politicians would know better than to thrust another cost onto the backs of overburdened taxpayers, in the Golden State the public employee unions and our politicians don't seem to understand that we have our own concerns which include funding our own retirements. It appears we taxpayers have become the sugar-daddy of the absurd demand. One would think this demand would be scoffed at, ridiculed, and laughed out of chambers - but in CA this bill to enrich public safety union employees, or their beneficiaries, has been embraced even though there is ZERO funding or evidence to support this tax dollar giveaway.
Here is what the Sacramento Bee had to say in a recent Editorial: Why did they vote for the death-benefits giveaway?
"Sacramento Assemblyman Roger Dickinson is a reliable pro-labor vote.
So it was no surprise that he voted for Assembly Bill 2451, Speaker John A. Pérez's expensive death-benefits giveaway to powerful police and firefighter unions. The bill blows the lid off the statute of limitations on service-related death benefits. If it passed, it wouldn't matter if the firefighter, police officer or prison guard died of heart disease or cancer at age 90 40 years after he had retired. A widow or other surviving relative a brother-in-law qualifies could claim a death benefit worth a quarter of a million dollars at minimum."
"Cities and counties are struggling to balance budgets, even laying off police officers and closing fire stations to do so. Yet the Pérez measure sits on the Senate floor just one vote from the governor's desk, a sign of the disconnect between California's elected representatives and the public. Why did so few vote against this bad bill?
"Unions have a lot of power in the building," Assemblywoman Grove explained. "It takes a lot of guts to vote against unions."
And not many legislators have the guts to buck the unions who could end their political careers, certainly not Sacramento's Roger Dickinson, to name one."
Read more here: Web Link
From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
"Some readers say we're too focused on the rising cost of pensions for public employees.
Without pressure from newspapers, and especially voters, it's unlikely that state legislators would be promising to deliver a pension reform measure before they adjourn at the end of this month.
Even with public scrutiny, and despite promises for reform, the Legislature is inexplicably poised to expand some post-retirement benefits at the urging of police and firefighter unions and at great expense for local governments, many of which already are struggling to balance their books….
The cost will be borne primarily by cities and counties and, by extension, local taxpayers. For Los Angeles County alone, the cost is estimated at $20 million a year.
Yet this bill has zoomed through the Legislature without review by a fiscal committee in either the state Senate or the Assembly. It passed the Assembly on a 69-4 vote and the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee sent it along on a unanimous vote. Such solid support from both Democrats and Republicans illustrates the broad-based political influence of police and firefighter unions. A legislative analysis identifies the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the California Professional Firefighters as co-sources of the measure, Assembly Bill 2451." Web Link
If the state needs more money why are our politicians trying to give money away needlessly? Is our CA political process so corrupted that the politicians no longer care what the voting public thinks? Or do they just think we're so stupid we won't notice all the back room deals between bought elected officials and the unions.
According to the Flash Report (HERE THEY GO AGAIN THINKING WE ARE STUPID:
"So what is it that is so bad that this stinker does to us ordinary residents? Currently firefighters and peace officers receive a death benefit if they are killed on duty or die within four and one-half years of retirement from some ailment suffered while on duty. Not much argument there. This new bill provides a death benefit whenever these former employees die. They don't have to have made any related health claims during their employment period; they just have to die to get the benefit. And this is not $10,000 they are handing out. It is valued at between $250,000 and $300,000 per.
So Officer Krupke retires at the age of 50 (we will not even get into a discussion of that). He has had no health claims. He lives to a nice ripe age of 84 and dies from a heart attack at the time. His family, and that definition is very loose in this bill, gets a free (for them very costly for you) insurance benefit out of the generosity of the hearts of the people of California principally because we apparently are so flush with dough. Does that seem fair?
You can't just die of anything and get this benefit. To be accurate it is limited to pneumonia, heart trouble, cancer, leukemia, tuberculosis, an infectious disease or a hernia (did not know you could die from a hernia.) That leaves out smallpox, polio, typhoid fever, the plague and a few other diseases that no one gets anymore. The way it looks, the stated diseases will cover 99.999999% of peace officers and firefighters. And nowhere does this bill say it changes any other benefits currently in existence, such as pension benefits."
Besides when the State of CA is looking for more tax dollar revenue, when will the taxpayer be a consideration in the equation of what is fair? It doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon. Maybe we can send a message in November?