Skip to comments.CA: Chickens Roosting At Home - Legislative slaves of public employee unions
Posted on 02/27/2006 8:35:05 AM PST by NormsRevenge
From 1999 through 2002, I was the Vice Chair of the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee. During that time, a number of bills presented to the committee increased pension and retirement benefits for state and local government employees. Every single one of these bills were passed and signed by Governor Davis.
At the hearing on each of these bills, the lobbyists for the government employee unions showed up and begged the committee members to vote for the bill. In addition, the representative for the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) told the committee that the retirement system could afford the increases because it had a $60 billion surplus.
The surplus was so big that the state did not have to pay any money to the CalPERS fund, and CalPERS told us we would never have to pay into the retirement system ever again, even with the benefit increases. Of course, the government employee unions control the CalPERS board. The state was experiencing record budget surpluses, so everyone thought that the good times would last forever.
I kept trying to explain to my legislative colleagues that we were being foolish. No one can increase benefits without some cost. At some point, I said, these pension chickens were going to come home to roost in our budget. My colleagues called me Chicken Little telling me the sky is not falling. They said the pension was sound and the budget could absorb the cost.
The chickens have come home to roost. The City of San Diego is going bankrupt from generous pension benefits. Orange County is talking seriously about filing bankruptcy again to get out from underneath their pension requirements. The states contribution to CalPERS is estimated to be $3.5 billion this year, and even higher next year. This is from nothing in 1999.
And this week, the Legislative Analysts Office released a report that the cost of retiree health benefits will be in the range of $40 billion to $70 billion, and perhaps more. The report identifies two reasons for this increased cost; (a) increased health care costs; and (b) legislatively mandated increased health benefits.
Health care costs have increased significantly in the last six years for one reason: legislatively mandated minimum requirements for health care. From 1999 to 2000, the Legislature passed over 30 different mandates on health insurers, and as a result, costs increased over 40%.
In addition, the Government Standards Accounting Board (GASB) passed new rules on how to account for these increases. GASB statement 45 (GASB 45) increases the information the governments must report to properly assess their liabilities. No longer can the government employee unions, and their management allies, cook the books to understate the liabilities. Once all these liabilities are reported, the government agency must pay for all of the costs of those liabilities.
To the state of California, GASB 45 would require $6 billion in payments, compared to $1 billion today. This is in addition to the states already $2-3 billion increase in pension costs, and the existing $5 billion structural deficit, the state is on the brink of a crisis.
I like to use humor to shed light on the oddities of politics and government. Unfortunately, this article is not very funny. We are literally facing a crisis of epic proportions brought on by this Legislatures slavish devotion to the demands of the government employee unions. These gluttons are literally the fox guarding the chickens, and to mix metaphors, the chickens have now come home to roost. When this system collapses, people will wonder how this happened. Now you know that it is coming, and what caused it.
We could fire all the state employees and not notice the difference. (Just require everyone in the vicinity of a prison to own three or four shotguns per family.)
During the Special Election, California voters chose to give the Keys to the Treasury to the public unions.
Democracy is the road to socialism. Karl Marx
Democracy is indispensable to socialism. The goal of socialism is communism. V.I. Lenin
The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism.- Karl Marx
Note: You want peace?.. Kill all the socialists -OR- Adopt socialism completely..
That's a huge stretch.
Fact: Prop 75, a measure designed to limit public employee unions from randomly withholding money for political purposes from it membership's paychecks was defeated in the November 2005 election.
Fact: Prop 75 was defeated by a margin of 7% with about 35% of the state's eligible voters participating in the election. Those who did not favor the measure represented about 19% of the state's eligible voters or about 26% of those registered to vote in the election.
Fact: The majority of votes cast, (NO), was less than 30% of those who failed to vote.
During the Special Election, about 20% of California voters chose to give the Keys to the Treasury to the public unions.
I won't quibble with any of your numbers. Nevertheless, Arnold measures should have passed, but the voters that chose to cast their ballots chose otherwise. The only relevant facts are that the election is over, the Public Unions are in possession of the Key to the Treasury, and California is worse-off for it.
What a powerful reply!!! Wow!!!
Whoa, there, hosepipe! You can't be series?
I don't think that would actually bring "peace" unless you just mean an absence of opposition. IOW: Not really peace.
That is NOT a stretch!
The boring statistical parade was offered to emphasize that the quality of the candidate has everything to do with the level of participation in a democracy. If a candidate or candidates motivate allegiance and excitement, the level of participation will rise. In November 2005, the candidate motivated about 35% of the eligible voters. The result was that about 20% of the voting age populous was allowed to speak for the other 80%.
Personally, I prefer the Brasilian system from the 1960s. On election day, the military visited each household and escorted the eligible voters to the polls. Neighborhood by neighborhood participated in democracy as the day progressed. The military didn't attempt to influence the individual voter, they simply ensured participation. Even Amerigomag, holding only a permanent visa, was escorted to the polls to determine if he was eligible to vote.
I was a disenfranchised voter during one Presidential election, but otherwise, I've never missed an election since I reached legal age. However, the longer I spend in the SF Bay area, the less I feel like forcing everyone else to vote.
True peace is loaded word.. In one paradigm peace is absense of opposition in another paradigm peace is at-one-ment with God.. What Marx means is absence of opposition by evil forces.. The Spirit of Truth(paraclete) brings spiritual peace Marx is talking about physical peace.. Of course Marx knew no more about peace than he did economics..
(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")