Labor Comes to the Table for CA Budget

State’s largest union agrees to big pay cuts

by Brian Leubitz

Times aren’t good for state workers these days, and the Governor’s budget wasn’t really good for anybody. After all, the deficit required massive cuts.  However, one of the components of the budget was a pay cut for state workers. And yesterday, he actually got some of the necessary buy-in from labor.

As a vote nears on the final details of a 2012-13 budget, Gov. Jerry Brown has persuaded leaders of the state’s largest public employee union to agree to a key portion of his plan to reduce state spending, a nearly 5 percent pay cut. (SF Chronicle)

There’s no way around the fact that this is really terrible. Workers shouldn’t have to be working backward on the ladder up, but that’s where we are. At some point we have to change this zero-sum game.

However, perhaps that can start with higher education.

The governor wasn’t the only one to get a win this weekend. The budget plan now includes a guarantee that tuition at the University of California and California State University systems won’t increase this year or next year – with a caveat.

Holding tuition flat, which will cost the state $125 million for each system, is contingent on voter approval of Brown’s November ballot measure to raise taxes. If voters reject the initiative, both systems face a $250 million cut.(SF Chronicle)

Obviously, there is still a huge IF here. The Governor’s measure is skating that delicate line, and it is far from guaranteed that the measure will pass. However, our stellar education system is a big part of what made California great. We can’t continue to turn our backs on it, hoping the private sector will pick up the slack. It won’t and we’ll be left in a far less competitive position than we were at the height of the Master Plan.

One thought on “Labor Comes to the Table for CA Budget”

  1. If Labor doesn’t start agreeing to lower their costs, how else can budgets be balanced?

    I’m trying to figure out what the ideal tax model is for a progressive governnment.

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