We are now in the midst of one of the most significant fiscal problems our state has ever faced—a $15.2 billion deficit, with no politically viable solutions in sight.
Democrats realize that cuts to important programs are probably necessary but want to soften the blow with new ideas to generate revenue, either in the form of taxes or fees. Republicans, on the other hand, have vowed to block any new taxes and want the entire budget gap bridged with cuts.
This problem is exacerbated by two important facts: the state constitution requires a two-thirds majority to pass a budget so the Democrats need a handful of Republican votes and the public wants it both ways.
A recent Field Poll revealed that the public does not support new taxes but at the same time overwhelmingly opposes cuts to basically every state program. This promises to be a long summer as the Legislature struggles with this vexing problem.
Meanwhile, we continue to move our agenda forward.
Our union has become increasingly concerned about the viability of curbside recycling programs as scavenging continues to grow. Therefore, the Teamsters support AB 1778 by Assembly Member Fiona Ma, (D-San Francisco). This bill requires recyclers who provide payment for California Refund Value (CRV) to issue it in the form of a check and obtain identification information for transactions over $50. This is a workable and reasonable measure to discourage scavenging.
Under current law, employers are not required to provide paid sick days, leaving nearly six million California workers with zero paid sick days. The lack of any federal or state laws requiring paid sick days affects workers of all income levels.
To address this, the Teamsters support AB 2716, another bill by Assembly Member Ma. This bill will allow all workers in California to earn paid sick days at the rate of one hour for every thirty hours worked. This accumulated time may be used to care for the worker, a sick family member or to take a leave related to domestic violence or sexual assault.
All workers in California have the right to earn paid sick days. This bill creates a state-mandated minimum while allowing for workers represented by a collective bargaining agreement to opt out of the requirements.
The Teamsters support SB 1338 by Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), which would maintain the right of some injured workers to pre-designate their treating physicians and see their own doctors should they get injured on the job.
Teamsters support AJR 52 by Assembly Member Betty Karnette (DLos Angeles). This measure will reaffirm California’s opposition to proposals that would authorize an increase in size or weight of commercial motor vehicles because of the impact these increases would have on highway infrastructure, especially bridges.
The Teamsters strongly support maintaining the safety standard of our highway system. We have sponsored and supported legislation to beef up security standards throughout the country and we believe that allowing heavier and longer trucks would be a step in the wrong direction.