California 2010 Ballot Propositions

Having received at least two dozen “voter guides” from “associations” representing public sector employees, and perhaps 2 or 3 from taxpayer groups – on much cheaper paper, much smaller formats, much lower weight – it seems like it would be useful to make a quick run-through of some of the critical voter initiatives on California’s ballot.

CIV FI’s California 2010 Ballot Proposition Voter Guide

Prop. 19 to legalize marijuana – who cares? The big money behind this proposition is based on the premise that people who smoke marijuana will support it, and that people who smoke marijuana will vote if this measure is on the ballot, and that people who smoke marijuana are young voters who (currently) tend to vote Democratic. Proponents of Prop. 19 who are backing it for this reason – and all the recent big money coming in to support this initiative are only concerned about this, not anyone’s rights to get stoned or any supposed tax revenue to be collected – need to be careful what they wish for. If this measure passes the Obama administration will be forced to crack down on California’s medical marijuana industry, which will alienate not only the marijuana smoking crowd, but pretty much every young person or libertarian leaning older person in America. 2012, anyone? CIV FI takes no position on this initiative.

Prop. 20 to form an independent commission to redraw California’s federal congressional districts – YES. A few years ago, a similar measure passed to redraw state legislative [...] Read More

Public Employee Compensation

A recently released study sponsored by U.C. Berkeley’s “Institute for Research on Labor and Employment,” authored by Sylvia Allegretto and Jeffrey Keefe, entitled “The Truth about Public Employees in California: They are Neither Overpaid nor Overcompensated,” contains its conclusion in its title, but whether or not this study is presenting the “truth” or not is worthy of further discussion.

According to this study, “the wages received by California public employees are about 7% lower, on average, than wages received by comparable private sector workers; however, public employees do receive more generous benefits. An apples to apples comparison, or one that controls for education, experience, and other factors that may influence pay, reveals no significant difference in the level of employee compensation costs…”

While the study goes on to explain the variables they evaluate in order to arrive at an “apples to apples” comparison, it never actually estimates the actual amount of wage disparity between the average compensation packages for California’s public employees compared to California’s private sector employees, so here goes:

Using California’s Employment Development Department’s recent report “Labor Market Trends,” (ref. figure 1) it is evident there are 2.4 million Federal, State and Local employees in California, 12.2 million full-time private sector employees who work for an employer, and another 1.4 million “self-employed” private sector workers. Worker compensation as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics don’t include estimates [...] Read More

California’s Proposition 23

Back in 2006 California’s Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, the “Global Warming Act,” which set the goal of reducing California’s “greenhouse gas emissions” to 1990 levels by 2020. The bill was set to become implemented in 2012, and for the past few years, the bureaucrats at the California Air Resources Board have been working feverishly to come up with specific regulations. What they have produced is a monstrosity.

To start to come to grips with what AB 32 is going to do to California, read CARB’s own material, their “Climate Change Scoping Plan,” their “Updated Economic Analysis of California’s Climate Change Scoping Plan,” and their “ENERGY 2020 Model Inputs and Assumptions.” You can get an attempt at a summary if you read the post “Implementing California’s Global Warming Act.”

Since the most recent publicized polling results indicate that voters are split roughly 50/50 on Prop. 23 (ref. the Sept. 24th LA Times article “Proposition 23 poll shows a dead heat among California voters“), it is worthwhile to examine the arguments against Prop. 23 that are currently bombarding voters. A good place to review these arguments would be on the “fact sheet” put forward by the group “Californians [...] Read More