To budget hell and back

The Legislature passed a budget, Governor Brown vetoed it, they argued for a week or so, then the Legislature passed a virtually identical budget and the Governor signed it. And they managed to do it on time, more or less.

And a dreadful budget it is. All cuts . . . to education, health care, local government, even prisons. The entire state redevelopment system was cut and handed to local government to figure out what to do with the corpse. This will lead to more job losses in a construction industry already saddled with 30% unemployment.

How did we get here? Well, the Republicans, whose votes are no longer needed to pass a budget (unless you want to raise taxes), simply opted out of the debate. They would not consider tax increases and it became clear as the spring wore on that they simply didn’t want to vote for any budget and would not even vote to allow tax increases to come before the voters.

The one tax that was passed by majority vote (don’t ask me how they managed that), will force on-line sellers to collect sales tax. The ink was barely dry on the Governor’s budget signature when Amazon.com announced that it was going to collect signatures to put the matter before the voters in a referendum. This will create strange political alliances, like the Teamsters and Wal-Mart, both of whom support taxing on-line sellers like Amazon.

Our Sponsored Legislation

As we go into the summer recess, which is followed by the frantic last month of the session, most of the bills that we have sponsored are alive and kicking. Here’s the line-up:

SB 609 (Negrete-McLeod) expedites representation decisions at the Public Employment Relations Board that have been held up by delays of up to two years, preventing our public sector locals from representing newly organized members.

AB 514 (Hernandez): Ten years ago, we got a bill passed that would pay the prevailing wage to our construction industry drivers who haul waste from construction sites. The Schwarzenegger administration frustrated the intent of this law by allowing employers to “sell” the waste for $1 and therefore claim it was no longer “refuse.”

SB 459 (Corbett) clamps down on the fraudulent misclassification by employers of workers, calling them “independent contractors” to avoid paying the minimum wage, overtime, benefits, and payroll taxes.

Take that BMW . . .

BMW wants to eliminate the work of Teamsters employed at their parts distribution warehouse in Ontario, putting us in the fight of our life there. Meantime, BMW was sponsoring a bill that was moving quite nicely through the legislature that would have prohibited locksmiths from duplicating their pricy electronic keys when they are lost by BMW owners, thus maintaining a monopoly on highlyprofitable key replacement. We asked our friend, State Senator Ed Hernandez, to drop the bill, out of respect to our members, to show BMW we can hurt them in unexpected places. The good Senator readily agreed.

Thank you Dr. Ed! You are a true friend.