Governor Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats must take California voters for chumps. That is the only explanation that I can think of for why they think that employing the Washington Monument Strategy will actually succeed in getting voters in the Golden State to vote increase taxes on themselves in the midst of a recession, to bail out a state government that can’t even agree that a public employee who commits a felony with a nexus to their government job should lose their pension. Apparently the “bogey man” that will be used to try to scare voters, the “closing of the Washington Monument,” will be the threat of shortening the public school year by as much as a couple of weeks. I don’t think voters will fall for it. And why should they?
Everyone knows that the most powerful special interest (by every measure) in the State Capitol is the California Teachers Association. Let’s remember that despite any window-dressing or sloganeering otherwise, the CTA has only two functions. 1) Increase/Preserve the salaries and benefits of its members and 2) Increase the size of the union. That’s it. How does it make any sense that the CTA has agreed that instead of prudent budgeting now with broader cuts, that the CTA agrees to have their members take it in the proverbial shorts if the Governor’s tax increase fails at the ballot box.
The answer, of course, is obvious. Regardless of what rhetoric you hear between now and November about the draconian cuts to education if the public fails to pass the tax increases, if those taxes fail, the legislature will reconvene and an already-agreed-upon-in-the-back-room deal will be revealed, shifting the additional cuts to areas that are not so ably represented by the state’s most powerful public employee union.
It should be instructive to all that the last eight times that California voters have been asked to raise taxes on themselves, their answer has been remarkably consistent — no.