Opinion

It's already too expensive to live in California — and it just got easier to increase our taxes

To the editor: There is a reason why taxes should require a two-thirds vote — we are taking long-term commitments to raise taxes via bonds and fees. (“A win for majority rule on local finances,” editorial, Sept. 1)

The editorial page has called Proposition 218, the 1996 ballot measure requiring new taxes meant to fund specific programs be passed by a two-thirds vote, “tyranny of the minority.” However, it is the same when public employee unions strong-arm their employers and the government leaders involved to give them unsustainable pension and wage increases.

Because of the increased liabilities that have come about because of the pay and benefits negotiated by public employee unions, local agencies must pay for more immediate needs, such as computer systems, with credit. Cities such as Upland and San Bernardino had to give up local control of their fire departments to save on costs.

California is becoming an expensive place to live, and people are sadly ambivalent to the reality we are facing today.

Matthew Munson, Ontario

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To the editor: In the nearly 40 years since Gov. Jerry Brown signed his 1978 executive order imposing union shop collective bargaining on public agencies in California, taxpayers have labored under an unholy alliance between liberal politicians and public employee unions.

In return for more generous compensation funded with other people’s money, the unions have kept their favored politicians well-funded. When there wasn’t enough money, the grist in the mill was future promises of other people’s money. Hence, the unfunded pension liability bomb that is waiting to explode in every local budget in the state.

With a simple 51% majority rule to impose new taxes for local programs, per the recent court decision of Proposition 218, we can only expect a lot of new taxation.

Mark F. Sullivan, Westlake Village

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