Firefighters Union Backs Prop. 15 Instead of Forestry Reform

Thousands of firefighters continue to battle blazes across California. In Orange County, two firefighters are in critical condition after suffering major injuries battling the Silverado Fire. Every year around this time, firefighters risk their lives, and some of them lose their lives, protecting the rest of us from these catastrophic fires.

Deep respect for what firefighters do, however, cannot excuse us of our obligation to criticize the political agenda of the firefighters union. Moreover, it is likely that if the firefighter union leadership redirected their political priorities, it would save lives and property. It would free up firefighting resources, allowing them to be concentrated in remaining trouble spots.

In this fraught political season, California’s firefighters union has decided to endorse Prop. 15, the controversial “split roll” ballot initiative. If enacted, Prop. 15 will require business properties to be reassessed at market rates. If passed, the increased tax revenue is estimated at between $6.5 billion and $11.5 billion per year.

It isn’t necessary to debate the pros and cons of Prop. 15 here. Nor is it necessary to recap why it is the mission of every public sector union in California to increase taxes, despite the fact that Californians already pay the highest overall taxes in the United States.

Most everyone agrees that if you are a victim of a fire, or are injured or killed fighting a fire, no amount of monetary compensation is adequate. But that perspective, which reasonable people acknowledge, has a corollary: […] Read More