The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 11, 2012
Common Cause says California ballot measure puts unions at disadvantage

Government accountability advocate Common Cause is against the a measure aimed at restricting union political fund-raising that goes before California voters in November.

The proposal would stop unions and businesses from donating money directly to political candidates, although both groups could continue spending on independent expenditure campaigns.

The measure also eliminates payroll-deducted contributions, unions' primary means of raising money from members. Corporations couldn't use payroll deductions either, but they get the bulk of their political cash from top executives and company funds.

The measure's backers say that the proposal is even-handed, that both business and labor interests are displeased at the prospect of it becoming law.

Common Cause, which supports partial public financing of campaigns, likes the measure's direct donations ban, but not the prohibition on payroll deductions, as it explained in a press release issued this afternoon:

Unfortunately, it also effectively bans the current practice of payroll deductions, thus eliminating a major funding source of labor unions, while leaving ample room for indirect political spending by corporations from their corporate treasuries. This initiative would result in significant undue advantages for one set of interests over another that we believe will do more harm to California's democracy than good, and we urge voters to vote 'No.'"

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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