Lame Duck Shenanigans

Lame Duck Shenanigans

There are those who may criticize outgoing Florida Governor Charlie Crist for issuing a posthumous pardon to rock legend Jim Morrison (ref. “Gov. Charlie Crist will pursue pardon of Jim Morrison,” St. Petersburg Times). We should all be so lucky.

In Iowa, incoming Governor Terry Branstad, in a press release today, exposed a lame-duck move by outgoing Governor Culver, where he signed a new agreement with state employee unions. The contract will put Iowa taxpayers on the hook for $103.5 million the first year alone, and hundreds of millions in subsequent fiscal years.

As Branstad’s chief of staff Jeff Boeyink, put it, “Governor Culver’s decision to rush through a collective bargaining deal with state employee unions before he leaves office is reckless and irresponsible. This will cost Iowa taxpayers $103.5 million the first year alone, and hundreds of millions in subsequent fiscal years. At a time 113,000 Iowans are out of work and thousands more are seeing significant pay reductions, it is the wrong time to ask taxpayers to pick up the enormous cost of these pay raises.”

Boeyink added the following somewhat encouraging statement, saying “We will review all of our options.”

With the exception of California, New York, and a handful of other states still controlled by urban democratic machines – primarily sustained through public employee unions that are involuntarily funded by taxpayers – this sad endgame is playing out across the country. The potential for damage that may be hard to undo, however, is significant.

At the federal level, for example, according to Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee, Harry Reid is working to cut-off all debate and ram the Police and Firefighter Monopoly Bargaining Bill (S. 3194) into law. Senate Bill 3194, the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act,” is designed to force every firefighter and police officer in the country to join a labor union. Passage of the Police and Firefighter Monopoly Bargaining Bill could be the final straw for cities and small communities that are already struggling to make ends meet.

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