By Jon Coupal | In a recent column, I commented on how joyous the holiday season would be for members of the state legislature and our constitutional officers who are seeing a four percent increase in their pay. California lawmakers were already the highest paid in the nation.
But as the song says, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In a state the U.S. Department of Labor rates as first in pay for state and local government workers, one of the largest public sector unions has negotiated a pay raise of up to 19 percent for many of its members. Union leaders claim that many of the jobs their members perform are in high demand and, without the increases, employees will be lured away to the private sector. Therefore, a 19 percent increase for “financial experts” currently making between $7,300 and $10,000 per month, is warranted. However, everyone has been invited to the party. Even janitors will be getting an extra 3 percent on top of the standard 4 percent that has been negotiated for all the represented workers.
Other unionized employees, now negotiating pay increases with the state, will likely see similar raises. And it is important to mention that most of these “public servants” are receiving healthcare and pension benefits that most in the private sector can only dream of.
In November, voters said yes to new taxes and to the continuation of the highest income tax rates in the nation. The expensive campaigns that put these measures over the top were funded primarily by public sector unions, so it is not hard to guess where the bulk of the tax revenue will be going. Instead of state government providing more and better services, most of the funds will go to paying for raises for government workers. And let’s not forget the need to fund nearly a trillion dollars in unfunded pension liabilities for which taxpayers will be picking up the tab.
This is not to lose sight of the fact that many public employees work hard and provide valuable service. Most citizens want to see these employees fairly compensated for good work.
However, because government holds a monopoly on most of the services it provides — there is no competition or alternative — much of the work actually provided is subpar. Anyone who must use government services cannot imagine that these across the board raises state employees are receiving are based on merit.