Labor unions that blasted a state budget deal for its constitutional spending limit have gone quiet as the state gears up for a May 19 election asking voters to ratify the agreement.
Campaign veterans believe Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders can only succeed in persuading voters to pass six budget-related ballot measures if unions remain on the sidelines.
Labor groups will hold internal meetings over the next month to decide how to proceed.
Well, if you didn't believe me before when I told you how much sway unions have in this state, you might now. How did it get this way? It's not like California was ever a large steel state, car state, etc. Why are unions so strong here? But I digress.
The most controversial ballot measure this year is Proposition 1A, which establishes a cap on future state spending based on a trend line over the previous decade.
Public employee labor unions fear the measure would mean less money for government jobs, yet the cap was essential to winning Republican support for the budget package...
Lawmakers and Schwarzenegger crafted the budget deal to win support from education groups. They placed Proposition 1B on the ballot to specify that the state would pay schools $9.3 billion beginning in 2011-12. They tied the measure to Proposition 1A, partly to discourage teachers unions from opposing the spending limit.
CTA President David Sanchez said that his group has taken an interim support position on Proposition 1B, but that it will take positions on all the measures at a state council meeting next month.
"We're going to be having a campaign to encourage electorate support for repayment back to schools," Sanchez said.