Same Old Same Old in Sacto

Perusing political files from 2003, I was surprised to see that many of the political issues being debated in Sacramento now are the very same issues being discussed back then: excessive public employee pensions and the need to cut costs in California government. Little progress has been made since then.

The reason things remain the same is because Democrat legislators, beholden to unions who can “get out the vote,” aren’t looking after the public’s best interests. That’s why, once again legislators like Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D), who represents Contra Costa County in the state legislature, are singing the same old refrain, which goes like this: “If you don’t vote for the proposed tax increase, tax extension, bond measure, etc. the legislature will have to make major cuts in social programs, which will affect Californians in need.”

I say bring it on. More and more taxpayers are waking up to the fact that we’re being played for suckers.

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D) said last week that the list of suggestions pertaining to tort reform, civil service reform and tax reform submitted by Republicans moved the parties further apart. Here are a few of the many proposals on the Republican list:

* State and local employee pension reform. Equal share of pensions costs between employer and employer, base pay (salary only) to determine final retirement benefits, no spiking and no double-dipping (drawing a full time salary and pension from the same employer).

* Cost-effective analysis of proposed major regulations and legislation.

* Sending cap based on CPI and population with revenues above cap going to pay down debt, and building of a 10 percent rainy day reserve.

* Education reform. Last in, first out reform, allowing layoffs, transfers, etc. to be based on teacher performance instead of seniority. Extend deadline to notify teachers of layoffs and tenure status, giving school districts more time to evaluate their budget situation and send out more accurate notifications.

* Realign policy implications for law enforcement as entire budget is based on saving $5.9 billion by shifting services to local level with no plan for how to fund locals after taxes expire.

A stumbling block for Gov. Jerry Brown should he succeed in putting his tax initiatives on the November ballot are several proposed initiatives now in the process of qualifying, which will give taxpayers the choice to limit the growth in state spending to the combined growth of population and inflation, institute a cap on retirement benefits and require state and local employees pay an equal share of pension costs.

Only question I have pertains to how the inflation rate in California will be calculated. The Federal Reserve Board is estimating the common trend rate of inflation for consumer prices – excluding food and energy prices!

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