Optimistic outcome of the defeat of 2012’s Proposition 32
By Mimi Stange
Mimi Stange, a graduating senior at Arroyo Grande High School, is the winner of this year’s Al Sandoval Competitive Scholarship. Her father is George McCrum, a PG&E Electrician and 23-year IBEW member.
The outcome of Proposition 32 would have made a big impact on my household. The authors and supporters of Prop 32 claimed it would “take big money out of politics and fix all of Sacramento’s problems” calling it a Special Interest Money Act, a misleading statement made by the measure’s wealthy special interest groups (the top 1%) who would have been exempt of the provisions of this Proposition. Those (of us) who opposed the measure denied the benefits, calling it deceptive, expensive and favoring big business.
The supporters of this Proposition claimed it would “rein in” campaign contributions by both union and corporations. The cold truth was that the deceptive wording in the document would have limited the voices of union members and given special exemptions to corporate special interest groups. This Proposition had been voted down twice before; in 1998 and 2005…maybe if they keep re-wording it they might someday fool the voters into believing it would benefit the public. I don’t think the Union members will ever be fooled by this kind of political manipulation.
Corporate special interest groups already outspend the middle class 15 to 1, and this measure would have allowed more exemptions for rich corporations and big businesses (who don’t really need the exemptions in the first place). There would also have been a financial impact to our state, potentially exceeding $1,000,000 dollars annually, a financial burden the taxpayers (us little guys) would be responsible for paying, as most big businesses pay a far lower tax rate than the middle class taxpayer.
Real estate developers, insurance companies and billionaire businessmen would be exempt from the provisions of Prop. 32, allowing them to financially pander to their hearts content in order to secure “their” candidate, while a union would no longer be able to contribute to candidates on behalf of its members, as Prop. 32 supporters claimed that workers are forced to contribute to politics or causes they disagree with. This is simply not true.
Current law protects workers from being forced to join a union or paying fees to unions for politics. My dad says his Union Dues are a set amount, whether there’s a Union related item on the ballot, or not. The Union uses a portion of the dues paid by its member to fight for and protect the members. If Prop 32 had passed, unions would still have been able to raise money for political purposes, but they would have had to ask for voluntary donations from their members, which probably would have generated a lot less revenue, while big businesses would be exempt from this law.
Because Proposition 32 did not pass Unions still have the legal right to contribute to political campaigns, supporting politicians who support the middle class workers of this state. It is still legal for contractors to bid and contract for government jobs, which ensures jobs for thousands of California Union workers every year, and multi-million dollar tax loopholes and exemptions from environmental laws are still considered a big no-no for big developers, wealthy movie producers and out-of-state corporations.
If Prop 32 had passed the residents of California would have had to pay higher state taxes to pay for the $1,000,000 cost to implement this measure. It would have disallowed Unions to contribute to political campaigns, making it more difficult for Union officials to create equal pay and opportunities for its members. It would have caused a greater inequality between lower paid workers and fat cat businessmen. With an exemption from environmental laws, there would be a fear of big corporations abusing environmental rules, causing greater damage to our eco-system. There would be an inevitable loss of Union jobs, and the inability of Unions to contribute to the political campaigns of politicians who care more for the welfare of the average workers of this state than the profits and tax advantages of big businesses.
I’m grateful the voters of this state voted against Proposition 32. It gives me faith that the system is still working for the rights of the people.