CSUEU E-News: March 17, 2011
Biweekly news digest from the California State University Employees Union
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NEW FIELD POLL SHOWS SUPPORT FOR TAX EXTENSIONS
BARGAINING TEAM LISTENING TOUR
FIGHT FOR WISCONSIN WORKERS’ RIGHTS
STATE BUDGET QUIZ
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New Field Poll Shows Support for Tax Extensions
Gov. Jerry Brown has voter support for calling a June special election and extending higher taxes, but his window of opportunity may close soon, according to results from the latest Field Poll, published yesterday morning.
The survey shows voters are more negative toward tax increases than tax extensions. Brown has only a few weeks left to put his proposals on the ballot as the latter.
Still, the poll shows that a majority of voters support an equal mix of taxes and cuts, as well as a special election to decide taxes.
Brown is lobbying a handful of deal-minded Republicans to place his tax extensions on the June ballot in exchange for long-term changes related to pensions and future spending. If no deal is reached, Brown has said he will send a budget to the legislature in which the gap is closed solely by deep cuts across the board.
The survey of 898 registered voters was conducted by Field Research in conjunction with UC Berkeley.
When the proposal to extend taxes on vehicles, sales and income was explained to poll respondents, 58 percent said they would support Brown’s plan on the ballot. Only 43 percent, however, said they would pay higher taxes to erase the deficit.
“Over the years, Californians have usually only been willing to increase taxes when they're being increased on someone else,” said Dan Schnur, director of the University of Southern California’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. “An extension seems less threatening. So the debate over that particular word choice is going to be at the crux of the battle.”
Current, higher tax rates on sales and vehicles expire at the end of June, meaning opponents could legitimately call Brown’s plan a tax “increase” after that.
“It is unclear why the Republicans think it is smart to obstruct the right of the people to vote on a budget solution,” said Brown press secretary Gil Duran.
This Tuesday, March 22, the CSU Board of Trustees will hold a day-long Long Beach meeting during which potential impacts on the CSU will be discussed and by which time it should be more clear whether the special election will be taking place this June as proposed.
Read a March 16 Sacramento Bee article with more details.
Read the Field Poll press release.
Read a more detailed tabulation (PDF).
In a companion UC Berkeley/Field Poll whose results were released this morning, California voters said they support reforms in how public employee pensions and health benefits are funded. The survey found that 42 percent of the respondents think pension benefits for public employees are “too generous,” up from 32 percent in October, 2009. It further found that 69 percent of respondents want state and local government union members to pay more each month for health benefits. They overwhelmingly want to increase the minimum age when an employee can retire, reduce benefits for new employees, and replace the current pension system with 401(k)-style benefits with reduced guaranteed payments.
SEIU California President Bill Lloyd expressed the opinion of many with a statement he released today: “Eighty percent of public employees who retire, such as nurses, school employees, college professors, and child protection workers, receive less than $2,500 a month in retirement benefits, and many public workers will receive no Social Security. Nearly 80 cents of every dollar in benefits comes from workers’ contributions and investment earnings. We build our retirements through a lifetime of hard work and paycheck contributions, so we will continue to lead the way on reforms that make pensions strong and sustainable.”
Read a March 17 San Francisco Chronicle article with full details.
Bargaining Team Listening Tour
The bargaining team has started visiting all campuses for presentations on contract negotiations. The “listening tour” format, a bargaining overview presentation followed by Q&A with VP for Representation Russell Kilday-Hicks and other members of the bargaining team, has been well received across the state.
On March 8, the tour came to the San Jose State campus, where an overflow crowd filled the room. “We really need members to be involved in bargaining, giving feedback to the team and staying engaged through rallies and other actions,” says Chapter 307 President Vera Acevedo, “and this presentation was a great way for members to start getting engaged in the negotiations process.”
At this point, most campuses have either hosted or scheduled presentations. Here are dates and locations for the remaining scheduled events:
- 314 Dominguez Hills March 21
- 318 San Diego March 24
- 319 Pomona March 24
- 315 Long Beach March 25
- 324 Channel Islands March 30
- 321 San Marcos April 7
In a process known as “sunshining,” last month CSUEU made public the articles the union plans to open as part of the bargaining process, and on March 14 CSU did the same. Only when bargaining begins at the end of April (the first session takes place April 26-28 at CSU Fresno) will the specifics on both sides become clear. By that time, many of the current uncertainties about the state and CSU budgets will undoubtedly have been clarified.
Nearly 3,600 employees participated in CSUEU’s online member survey. This represents 25 percent of CSUEU-represented employees throughout the state, a very good level of participation for an online survey. The CSUEU bargaining team will be using the results to help determine the union’s bargaining priorities.
CSUEU thanks everyone who took the time to complete the survey. Your responses and your comments are very important to us!
Fight for Wisconsin Workers’ Rights
After weeks of trying to bully his anti-worker bill through the Wisconsin legislature in the face of growing opposition from the public, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker last week succeeded in ramming his union-breaking bill through the Senate in the middle of the night, without debate or even the presence of Senate Democrats. The bill also passed the Assembly and was signed into law by Walker on March 11.
But the fight is far from over. Workers in Wisconsin and all around the country are more energized and motivated than ever to protect the middle class. Legal challenges and recall campaigns are already in the works in Wisconsin, and there are still more ways to get involved from California.
Tell the workers you support them! Help oust the eight GOP Senators who lead the charge on this bill by signing AFSCME’s petition.
Participate in a Milwaukee Journal Times poll on Gov. Walker’s performance to voice your disapproval of his union-busting tactics.
View a KSBY-TV (NBC) news report and a KCOY-TV (Fox) report about a San Luis Obispo rally coordinated by MoveOn.Org two days ago in support of Wisconsin workers. Many members of Cal Poly SLO Chapter 316 were in attendance carrying CSUEU signs.
State Budget Quiz
This quiz was created by Next10, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization providing information about California and its future.
1. In 2009-10, what percentage of funding for K-12 schools was from local property taxes?
2. What portion of our mass transit systems is paid for by the riders who use the systems?
3. Which area of government is projected to grow the most in the next 20 to 30 years?
4. Which government employees, on average, are paid the least in salary and benefits combined?
5. Which major state-funded program has had the largest percentage reduction in the last three years?
6. Of the states with the largest budget shortfalls, as a percent of revenue, which state has the smallest shortfall?
7. Is the $127 billion in all state funds that Governor Brown is proposing in his budget more or less than what he spent in his last year the first time he was governor, after adjusting for growth in population and inflation?
8. What percent is California’s deficit of the state’s total economy?
ANSWERS: 1. 30 percent. 2. Around 20 percent. 3. Medi-Cal. 4. State. 5. K-12 Education. 6. California. 7. 21 percent more. 8. 1.3 percent.
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Categories: CSUEU E-News |
Posted: 3/17/2011 |