A rude, deluded union crowd

I spent a couple hours in the PERS committee listening to testimony over Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth’s SB 919 pension-reform bill and was stunned by the rudeness of the mostly union crowd as bill supporters spoke out. They laughed and chatted loudly and were even shushed by the sergeant in arms. The bill would modestly reduce pension benefits for new workers as a way to rein in the state’s massive pension liability. A handful of bill supporters, including the Pacific Research Institute’s Jason Clemens (PRI is the sponsor of CalWatchdog), David Wolfe of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association,  David Crane and Michael Genest from the governor’s office and Larry Lees, Shasta County assessor, spoke in favor of the bill and then a long line of union spokespeople opposed the bill.

The hearing, which I’m now watching on the California Channel, continues as we speak. Now, CalPERS — echoing the many union reps — are defending the current pension system. Listening to these folks, you’d think that the system is fully funded and in perfect health. CalPERS, at the prodding of Sen. Lou Correa, who helped create the problem by sponsoring “3 percent at 50” legislation in 1999 when he was in the Assembly, touted the rebounding economy. Yeah, right.

The union reps kept repeating the mantra that pension liabilities can be fixed at the bargaining table, which is utter nonsense. The unions control the bargaining table. It’s been at the bargaining table where these massive liabilities have been created. CalPERS is now insisting that the economy and its investments are coming back — a form of delusion that’s at odds with the views of less-interested parties.

— Steven Greenhut

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  1. Admin
    Admin Author 10 May, 2010, 16:35

    They won’t be laughing when their pensions are chopped, chopped, chopped by the New York banks that control the state’s fate. The unions still don’t see that what’s happening in Greece soon will hit Greece on the Pacific.

    — John Seiler

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  2. Chris Thompson
    Chris Thompson 11 May, 2010, 06:44

    Steve, can you clarify the sentence about Lou Correa?

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  3. Michael Fuss
    Michael Fuss 11 May, 2010, 07:05

    They are acting like the big gang on the block. The trouble for them is the biggest gang on the block are the voters who are rtesenting up to the tax fee and fine hikes that the paid off elected officals are pushing down their throats to pay for their very high pay, benefits and pensions. One day the voters will take away the elected officals right to approve public employee contracts and reserve it for themselves exclusively and the public emloyees will once again be put in their legitimate place as public servants. Check out a copy of my proposed constituitonal ballot measure that I already submitted to the legislative counsel’s office at http://cavoteonpublicemployeepay.org/

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  4. Look behind you
    Look behind you 11 May, 2010, 08:06

    Taxpayers ….. just renege on all promises for things that YOU don’t get from YOUR Private Sector employer.

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  5. Admin
    Admin Author 11 May, 2010, 08:39

    Thanks, Chris. It’s fixed. FYI, SB919 would not renege on anything. It just creates a new tier. Refusing to fix the system is the best way to assure that the unions — which used political bullying and dishonest projections — will not get all the “promises” they were granted.
    –Steven Greenhut

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  6. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 11 May, 2010, 11:12

    I am always stunned by the rudeness of Republican legislators when the eldelry and people with disabilities speak out against proposed cuts in health and human services programs at committee hearings. The Repubs are checking their emails, chatting with their colleagues, and otherwise completely ignoring the horror stories that people are testifying to. I even remember awhile back when a wounded police officer was testifying and Tom McClintock was eating his lunch and completely ignoring the testimony. They just don’t give a damn, and it shows.

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  7. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 11 May, 2010, 11:14

    By the way, John, all of you good folks who keep trying to equate Greece and California conveniently leave out the fact that Greece is not just cutting government programs but also raising revenue to solve its budget problems. We should be doing the same thing here.

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  8. Frank
    Frank 12 May, 2010, 08:33

    Stevefrom Sacto: We have been doing what Greece is doing, and been doing it for 30 years. That’s why we have a massive budget deficit of $36 Billion with a state debt approaching $600 Billion! And your solution is do more of what we have been doing??? No thanks.

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  9. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 12 May, 2010, 10:30

    Budget deficit is $20 billion. Much of it has come about because of the arbitrary elimination of the vehicle license fee, the costly tax breaks given to business, and the massive prison industry.

    You’d rather close schools than tax loopholes. You’d rather deprive an elderly Alzheimer’s patient of her homecare than tax oil production like every other oil producing state does. No thanks!

    When EVERYONE in our state is bearing a fair share of the burden in solving our budget crisis, then we can talk about more budget cuts.

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  10. Warlock
    Warlock 12 May, 2010, 13:24

    StevefromSacto, we have one of the top five highest taxes in the country, and you want to raise them more? 10% of the taxpayers pay 75% of the income taxes, and you think some people aren’t paying their “fair share”? That’s usually LeftySpeak for “tax rich people some more”. If that’s what you mean, well, I’m one of that 10%, and I’m seriously considering moving to Nevada. I will certainly do so if taxes go up again. Doesn’t it ever occur to you that people with a lot of money are very mobile? Don’t you remember all the British Rock stars who moved out of Britain to escape the taxes?
    If you indeed mean that some people aren’t paying their fair share, that’s everybody, you included, who aren’t part of that 10%. Are you volunteering to pay higher taxes and reduce the taxes on higher incomes to make it fair?

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  11. stevefromsacto
    stevefromsacto 15 May, 2010, 10:05

    Yes, Warlock, I am willing to pay higher taxes to help our state in its time of budget crisis.

    In return, I want our state to tax oil production. Every other oil producing state does; so should we.

    I also want corporate tax loopholes closed temporarily until the budget emergency has ended and we’re able to find enough permanent revenue to meet our needs. Everyone should share equally in the burden, including business.

    California’s public services and public education used to be the pride of the nation. If you’d like to help restore them, I’ll be happy to sacrifice. If not, enjoy Nevada.

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