Stop the Special Exemptions Act!
July 10, 2012 12:42 pm
The political power of unions is under siege across the nation. There have been high profile attempts to strip the collective bargaining rights of public unions, such as in Wisconsin and Ohio, and more subtle pushes to privatize public services, as in Pennsylvania.
Here in California, we have a more devious plan to quell the voices of workers: the Special Exemptions Act. The ballot initiative, presented under the misleading “Stop Special Interest Money” moniker, is actually a version of the Paycheck Protection measures that were voted down in 1998 and 2005. The Act nominally seeks to limit special interest spending from unions and corporations, stating that corporations and unions will not be able to donate money directly to candidates or candidate controlled campaign committees. Scratch the surface and the initiative states that corporations and unions will not be able to use automatic deductions from paychecks for political purposes — neglecting to mention that donations to SuperPACs are not covered by the language of the ballot measure, and that corporations do not automatically deduct dues from employee paychecks.
To understand the political motivation behind the bill, look at its genesis. Dan Morain at the Sacramento Bee says: “The initiative is the brainchild of Orange County Republicans, was written by a partner in the law firm that represents the California Republican Party, and is being bankrolled by wealthy Republicans.” In the same article, Dave Low, Executive Director of the California School Employees Associations, addresses the artful language of the initiative: “’Every time they [introduce a paycheck protection initiative] … they try to get a little cuter.’” Former Gov. Schwarzenegger’s failed 2005 effort was meant to affect the dues-collecting ability of public unions only; the Special Exemptions Act has more in common with 1998’s Proposition 226, in that all unions will suffer in the event of passage.
The total effect of SuperPAC funding on the 2012 election won’t be clear for a while, but we know that GOP SuperPACs have been raking in millions upon millions from individual donors like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers. It’s no secret why GOP operatives would want to hamstring unions, a Democratic political powerhouse. What’s insulting about the Special Exemption Act is that it attempts to draw on populist disgust with the current campaign finance model, while touting a bill that disenfranchises the average American. The Special Exemptions Act is reflective of a general disdain for the political acumen of the public — the legislative equivalent of this now infamous quote from an attendee of a Romney fundraiser in East Hampton, “I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
Let’s prove them wrong in November. Stop the special exemptions act. Learn more here.
Photo from here