22 Years Ago Today

It was 22 years ago today that Senate Bill 400 granted a retroactive pension increase to CA state employees that amounted to the largest non-voter-approved issuance of debt in state history. One result has been a nearly 10-fold increase in pension contributions.

Another has been a shift of tax revenues from programs to pensions.
Unions representing government employees were able to make political donations to lawmakers who authorized SB 400. They’re not alone. Corporations providing managed care services are allowed to donate to lawmakers who authorize more than $100 billion per year of Medi-Cal spending.

Suppliers of government-financed services in California should not be allowed to donate to lawmakers who have the power to authorize contracts with those suppliers. Govern For California supports a ban on donations from corporate, union and other contractors with the state or its subdivisions.

Had GFC been as politically muscular in 1999 as it is today we feel quite certain we could have stopped SB 400. But in 1999 there was no organized resistance to special interests. Don’t blame special interests for pressing their cases. Blame yourself if you’re not pressing yours.