Crazy Initiative Department: End of Unions

The thing about the initiative process is that there is a lot of smoke without fire.  If you were to really monitor each initiative that comes into the hands of the offices of the Secretary of State you would keep yourself in a perpetual state of manic depression. First, initiatives that seem great (like repealing Prop 8) or initiatives that seem awful (like repeating the restrictions on choice that Californians have rejected many times).  It is just a bag full of crazy, and most of the crazy has nowhere near the money to get close to the ballot.

And so comes this bag full of crazy from the California Center for Public Policy

He said he filed the three initiatives Tuesday with the state attorney general's office.

The first measure would ban recognition of all public-sector labor unions and prevent government authorities from collectively bargaining with them.

The second would impose a higher tax burden on pensions paid through CalPERS or CalSTRS. Someone who earns an annual pension of $100,000 to $150,000 would pay 15 percent above the regular state income tax on the pension. The rate would jump to 25 percent for any pensions above $150,000. Health benefits would not be considered in the calculation. Ebenstein said the tax would eventually raise $1 billion a year for the state.

The third would raise the retirement age for state employees to 65. Public safety workers would see their retirement age rise to 58. 

 As we speak, the Legislature is working on its own pension reform measure that might be on the ballot sometime next year, and who knows what other private organizations might decide that the time is ripe for them to get some publicity through this stuff.  But Larry Eberstein, the head of the fair and balanced California Center thinks the time is now.  So he's groping around for some cash from some of the big funders of initiative campaigns to get some money.  (Not, you know, those dirty grassroots people…)

In the end, I would be pretty surprised if this got any momentum.  The reaction from Wisconsin from milder “reforms” has been outrage, and in California, a bluer state, the reaction to the end of all teacher, firefighter, police, etc unions, yeah, that will not be taken lightly.  Frankly, it's one thing to pay $200 to get some attention for your rather anonymous organization.  But he does have former Assemblyman Brooks Firestone on board, and he is the father of Andrew Firestone, one of the first “Bachelors” on the TV reality show.  So, that's awesome.

But, hey, why not let Eberstein play in the crazy box.  It looks like fun.  Perhaps next week I will round up some friends to file an initiave calling for a save the unicorn program.