Get free daily email updates

Syndicate this site - RSS

Recent Posts

Blogger Menu

Click here to blog

FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

- Or -
Search blog archive

Edward Ring

The Average Orange County Firefighter’s Total Compensation is $234,000 per Year

Most fire fighters do not get Social Security, so they completely count on the pensions they have contributed to, been promised and earned over a career. Take their pensions away or cut their pensions and you have fire fighters who risked their lives over a career to save others living in destitution, on public assistance, meaning the taxpayers have to foot that bill, too.

– Harold A. Schaitberger,President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Press Release Sept. 26, 2013

The implication in Mr. Schaitberger’s remark, apparently, is that $234,000 per year isn’t enough to permit someone to save enough money to avoid “living in destitution.”

Here’s how Orange County’s full-time firefighters did in 2011, according to data from their own website (ref.OCFA Employee Compensation,2011 – Grand Jury Format). Anyone who wishes to verify all of the calculations referenced in this post can… Read More

Edward Ring

Reports on Public Insolvency Incomplete Without Employee Compensation Data

On Sept. 23rd the New York Times published an in-depth report on how the cost of public employee pensions is causing budget challenges in San Jose, California. Entitled “Struggling, San Jose Tests a Way to Cut Benefits,” this article ran over 1,500 words and was filled with examples of city workers who are struggling financially.

Referring to city employees who face having more pay withheld from their paychecks to fund their pension benefits, the authors provide quotes:

“They’re kind of encouraging us to leave.”

“I’m leaving as soon as I get my 25 years in.”

”What they’re doing is destroying what had been a great police department.”

”I have to sell my house.”

While replete with quotes, however, the NYT only chose to share one statistic with its readers:

“San Jose now spends one-fifth of its $1.1 billion general fund on pensions and retiree health care, and the amount keeps rising.”

Since the New York Times is unwilling to… Read More

Edward Ring

Teachers can receive a $300 – $400 ‘rebate’ for CTA’s political spending

By Larry Sand and Ed Ring

September 16, 2013

Although California is not a right-to-work state, public school teachers have the ability to receive a yearly rebate of $300 – $400 from the California Teachers Association.

Teachers have these options because the United States Supreme Court has held that a union can’t force a non-union member to pay for the union’s political and other activities unrelated to bargaining and representing workers.

A teacher’s ability to exercise these options is limited, however, and the necessary paperwork must be sent to CTA by November 15. (All teachers in LA Unified and those represented by the California Federation of Teachers have different rules and information is available on CaliforniaTeacherFreedom.com.)

First, if teachers are CTA members, they must leave the union. A generic resignation letter is available here. Teachers only have to opt out of CTA one… Read More

Edward Ring

Orange County Pensions At Risk: Unions Just Call Critics “Extremists”

“Just as the overseer of Detroit lied to the public about Detroit’s unfunded pension liability, these extremists are likewise lying to the taxpayers of Orange County, and they’re following his playbook.” – Jennifer Muir, Communications Director, Orange County Employees Association

We’re not lying, Jennifer. We’re not even stretching the truth.

What government union spokesperson Muir is referring to is an analysis released last week by the California Public Policy Center entitled “Are Annual Contributions Into Orange County’s Employee Pension Plan Adequate?

They aren’t adequate. They aren’t even close to adequate. No lie.

The problem with pensions, unfortunately, as Teri Sforza aptly put it in her coverage of the CPPC study on September 10th in the Orange County Register, is“the nature of America’s public pension systems is to peer 20 to 30 years into the future – and the crystal ball can get a bitRead More

Edward Ring

Union Activists Disrupt Right-to-Work Forum in Washington

[Publisher’s Note – We are pleased to offer this column from Ed Ring, Executive Director of the California Public Policy Center. He is one of the state’s leading experts on public employee and public employee union finance issues – Flash]

Last week UnionWatch reported on new efforts underway in the northwest to implement right-to-work laws. In particular, we reported on a public sector right-to-work initiative proposed for the November 2014 Oregon state ballot, “Oregon ‘Public Employee Choice Act’ Aims for 2014 Ballot.” These efforts will trigger a union funded backlash that will intensify in direct proportion to the probability these reforms may have to be successful. What happened on Sept. 4th in Vancouver, Washington is a sobering, and mild, reminder to reformers of what they are in for if they ever gain real momentum with voters. Click on the links, especially the video.

From the Macinack Center website: Two people were arrested Thursday night as part of an anti-workerRead More

Edward Ring

Oregon Public Employee Choice Act Aims for 2014 Ballot

An initiative that will permit public employees to not only opt-out of paying full membership fees, but actually allow them to opt-out of paying anything whatsoever to unions has been filed in Oregon. While public sector union membership is supposedly voluntary in most states that permit unionization of their public servants, the unions nearly always are able to still collect the lion’s share of the dues via the so-called “agency fee,” or “fair share” fee. Typically equal to about 75% of normal dues, this is the portion of dues the unions claim is necessary to fund collective bargaining. If a worker benefits from collective bargaining, so the argument goes, they have to pay the costs for bargaining, even if they aren’t members.

Here is the text of “Initiative Petition 9,” and here is the pendingtitle and summary. The initiative is currently before the Oregon Supreme Court, facing a challenge by the unions to language used by their attorney general in the title and summary. Once released, proponents will have until July 2014 to gather the… Read More

Edward Ring

Saving Pensions Will Require Unions To Face Reality

“Not surprisingly, within moments of news of Detroit’s bankruptcy, pension scare mongers took to their pedestals to place all the blame on pensions. California, Los Angeles, and other governments would surely follow Detroit’s footsteps in short order, they cried. It’s simply not true, like most of the claims made by the anti-pension soldiers who have been trying for years to take away the retirement security of firefighters, teachers, police officers and other public servants.”

Ralph Miller,President, LA County Probation Officers’ Union, AFSCME,Fox & Hounds, August 20th, 2013

Miller has a point. California is not Detroit. California’s population has not imploded, nor will it. Detroit’s economy was reliant on one industry, California’s huge economy is diverse and relatively healthy. Turning California around, while daunting, is going to be a lot easier than turning around Detroit. And, yes, it was a collapsing industrial base and an imploding population that did as much or more… Read More

Edward Ring

Governor Brown Fighting Obama Administration to Defend Pension Reform

Remember AB 340, the pension reform successfully pushed by Democratic Governor Brown, that even Governor Brown acknowledges is only a first step towards making public employee pensions financially sustainable?

Well even AB 340 goes too far according to Obama’s new Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez. As Dan Borenstein of theContra Costa Times reports on August 16th,“unless California lawmakers exempt transit workers from the pension changes, the feds could cut off up to $4.3 billion of transportation funding, according to an estimate by the California Transit Association.That includes $174 million for BART, $225 million for Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and $12 million for AC Transit.”

The immediate negative economic impact of this is huge: Bill McMorris,reporting for the Washington Free Beacon on August 16th, writes“The federal government has withheld more than $500 million in funding to localRead More

Page 25 of 28« First...1020...2324252627...Last »