School Choice Initiative Quietly Gathers Support

In the November 2020 election, California’s powerful teachers’ unions spent over $20 million promoting Prop. 15, which would have increased taxes on commercial properties. Other unions, mostly in the public sector, spent another $17 million to promote Prop. 15. But voters weren’t buying it. Prop. 15 failed.

Overall, in November 2020, California’s government unions spent nearly $70 million to promote or oppose state ballot initiatives, and almost all of that spending was unsuccessful. While a couple of union supported ballot propositions were approved by voters, they weren’t high priorities, attracting only around $200,000 in union spending.

This result presents a paradox. Why is it that public sector unions, which collect and spend nearly $1.0 billion per year in revenue, mostly from dues, and use that money to make or break the political campaigns of nearly every member of the California State Legislature, and which in similar manner control nearly every city council, county board of supervisors, school board, and governing board of transit districts and fire districts and transportation districts – you get the picture – why couldn’t they impose their will on California’s electorate when it came to ballot propositions in 2020?

Consider these results on key initiatives, all contrary to the will of California’s government unions: 52 percent of voters rejected increasing property taxes, 56 percent rejected “no bail” laws, 57 percent rejected the reinstatement of racial preferences, 58 percent supported the rights of independent contractors, and 60 percent rejected Read More