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Proposition 32 is turning out to be one of the hardest choices on the California ballot this year, but it is unclear why it isn’t a simple “Yes” vote. For many years corporations and unions have been deducting hard-earned money from paychecks to donate to political campaigns without regard to the opinion of the employee. The purpose of Proposition 32 is to put an end to special interest funding by banning both corporate and labor union contributions to candidates, prohibiting government contractors from giving money to government officials who award contracts, prohibiting corporations and labor unions from collecting funds from employees and union members by payroll deduction, and making all employee contributions by any other means voluntary.
The commercials and Website by the “No on 32” campaign put up a pretty good argument, and I would believe it — if I didn’t do my research. Their main arguments are that Proposition 32 unfairly targets unions and leaves loopholes exempting LLCs and Super PACs, leaving them free to contribute unlimited amounts of money to political candidates and campaigns. Neither of these arguments is true, however.
These “loopholes” aren’t loopholes at all. In fact, a Supreme Court case in 2010, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission gave Super PACs and LLCs the constitutional right to make donations spend money on political advertisements not associated with candidates. So the “exemption” is failing to stop something that cannot be prohibited.
Also, unions have a stronger voice than they’re letting on. Twenty four out of 26 contributors to the “No on Prop 32” campaign are unions, and they have almost twice as much funding than the affirmative. In 2010, the California Fair Political Practices Commission published a report showing the 25 organizations that donated the most money for politics. The top three were unions, and the organization that spent the most was the California Teachers Association (CTA). They spent more on political campaigns in those 10 years than big corporations like Chevron, AT&T and Western States Petroleum Association combined.
The worst part? They’re not using this money to protect students or teachers. In 2008, the CTA spent $1.25 million on funding to oppose Proposition 8 — which wasn’t even an education related issue. Also, the CTA killed Senate Bill 1530. This bill would have made it easier to fire teachers for things like drug offenses and physical, as well as sexual, abuse. They paid off four politicians to keep silent when the bill came to vote, and it didn’t pass, because it needed one more vote from the money-hungry politicians.
As great as the arguments by the “No on 32” campaign are, they’re false. The unions are affected by Proposition 32 because they should be — and they won’t dissolve if it passes, because they can still make contributions to the “exempted” Super PACs. Proposition 32 needs to pass, so we can stop giving away our money for things we don’t believe in, and we need to show that as individuals, we still have a voice in our government. Vote “Yes” on Proposition 32.