George Skelton’s column in today’s Los Angele Times shatters some of the myths about the impact of public employees’ unions in California on the annual budget crisis.Â
Skelton writes: “In truth, California’s budget nightmare stems from a devil’s brew of sins: lack of discipline on both spending and tax-cutting in the past; an outdated and unreliable tax system too susceptible to economic booms and busts; the unhealthy dependence of local governments on Sacramento; and a dysfunctional state budgeting process that requires a gridlock-generating two-thirds majority vote….
And those pension costs? The governor has budgeted $3.8 billion in state contributions for the next fiscal year. But only $2.1 billion of that would burden the bleeding $83-billion general fund. The rest would come from self-sustaining special funds.
So even if employee pensions didn’t cost the state a cent â€” an impossibility â€” the savings would fill only 11% of the general fund deficit hole.”
This sort of blows the premise of Steven Greenhut’s book out of the water, doesn’t it?