Dan Weintraub also links to this affidavit from the California Teachers Association, which is trying to get a $40 million line of credit to pay for its politicking. The union has not only exhausted the increase in dues it imposed on union members in June to fight Schwarzenegger's ballot drives, but also pre-spent (if you will) all the extra dues it expects to collect through 2008. Foes of the dues hike are trying to get a judge to block the line of credit. Weintraub also notes that the governor's folks believe the unions have raised and spent $100 million in the anti-Arnold campaign.
If you don't live in California, you haven't been bombarded by the ads featuring those public-spirited teachers and firefighters Arnold has picked on with his mean-spirited campaign. Lucky you. But now that the gov has come back with his own ads that cast the battle as one of "government unions in Sacramento" vs. "the people of California," the initiatives' poll numbers are going up. A win for Arnold will not only demoralize the political establishment in Sacto, it'll also leave it broke for next year's (slash public pensions) campaign.
Why Prop 75 could worsen union politicking*
Of course, union members should not be coerced into paying dues to support political causes. But what if Prop 75 makes that the law in California? Union political activities wouldn't end; in fact, they could intensify.
Consider this: Say 60 percent of public employee union members choose to continue lobbying legislators with their dues. Such an affirmation might embolden the CTA to dun willing members a lot more than $60. The potential payoff is stunning. $500 bucks now to purchase the legislative process could easily deliver tens of thousands over time for each member in higher pay, pensions, and health benefits.
To be sure, there's a risk. The casual observer might start looking at goverment workers not as selfless public servants but as yet another money-grubbing special interest group. Given the increasingly duplicitous and vicious nature of the unions' campaign tactics, however, I'm guessing that the unions are willing to take a PR hit over the next few weeks and months if it can lock up their legislative clout for years to come.
*even though I support the Paycheck Protection Initiative.