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California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who’s doing very little these days to conceal his desire to succeed the current occupant of the White House, apparently aims to get there using the same scheme Joe Biden did — sucking up to organized labor in general and government employee unions in particular.
Newsom’s resume is littered with union sellouts — which goes a long way toward explaining how he’s managed to turn the Golden State into an open cesspool — but the most recent was his approval on June 27 of a state budget that has the potential to force taxpayers to subsidize union dues while handing California’s labor unions an unprecedented handout to shore up their Janus-depleted finances.
The so-called “Workers’ Fairness Tax Credit” would convert union dues from a tax deduction to a tax credit. The budget earmarks $200 million to “begin” a policy of paying union members for paying union dues.
“The credit level will be set in the budget each year,” the Assembly Floor Report states, “but will not exceed 33 percent of dues paid.”
Senate Bill 189, signed into law on June 30, includes a plan to “(i)mplement a tax credit under the Personal Income Tax Law to offset a portion of costs associated with union membership.”
However, it is likely that the tax credit will not be available for at least another two years. In 2024, legislators will have to decide if the state has sufficient funds for the program. Additional legislation is required to allow the program to start.
It would only affect the 16 percent of state workers with union memberships, which in 2021 was 2.4 million people.
“This is a massive gift to union members,” said John Moorlach, a former Republican state senator from Costa Mesa, to the Epoch Times. “We’re in one of those eras again where an association is wielding too much power.”
Moorlach, the only CPA in the legislature during his 2015-20 tenure, noted that a union worker who paid $1,200 in dues and owed $1,000 in taxes would reduce the liability by $400 (one-third), leaving the state only $600.
“(The law) has a bad aroma,” he added. “It doesn’t smell right. It’s a massive tax law change.”
“If this tax credit becomes law, that burden would be placed squarely on taxpayers,” agreed Maxford Nelsen, director of labor policy for the conservative think tank Freedom Foundation. “It’s very troubling.”
Nelsen said the legislation is just the latest in a long line of union pushbacks following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which affirmed that mandatory union membership, dues, and fees in the public sector are a violation of the workers’ First Amendment rights.
“I can say this is one of the worst proposals we’ve seen so far,” he said. “It’s only a step or two removed from the state of California writing checks to the Democratic Party. I think that’s pretty outrageous.”
“In California, it’s government of the unions, by the unions and for the unions,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association.
The enactment of the nation’s first state tax credit for union dues comes just a few months after Democrats in Congress attempted to enact an above-the-line federal tax deduction for union dues payments that would be available even to taxpayers who do not itemize.
The proposal, one of countless union giveaways in Biden’s Build Back Better program, is currently stalled.
“California’s dominant Democratic Party,” writes columnist Dan Walters in CalMatters, “is joined at the hip with the state’s unions, so it’s not surprising that legislators frequently enact measures aimed at helping their allies recruit and maintain dues-paying members.”
The arrangement, however, has one obvious exception — its own workers.
California’s Legislature has sidetracked several attempts to allow its employees to form a union, pushed mostly by former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who recently became the California Labor Federation’s top official.
The measure is very similar to legislation that was recently passed at the federal level.
The House of Representatives passed a union-drafted, Biden-backed bill in May that gave House staff the legal protections needed to organize. When the resolution became effective, eight workers from progressive legislative offices submitted petitions to the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights. That was the first step in forming a union.
All indications are that this will also be approved in California. Gavin Newsom is likely to sign the law when it becomes law.
Because nothing would make the governor and the unions pulling his strings happier than to turn the entire country into California — if not Venezuela.
Jeff Rhodes serves as vice president of news and information at Freedom Foundation. www.FreedomFoundation.com