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State Teachers Beef Up Prop 32 Opposition

Hillel Aron | September 7, 2012

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Yesterday, the CTA dropped another $6.9 million into the fight against Proposition 32, which would, among other things, prohibit unions from taking money automatically deducted from their members’ paychecks and spending it on political activity. (See LA Times:  Teachers union gives another $6.9 million to Prop. 32 fight.)

“This is a huge priority for us, for unions,” David Goldberg, a teacher in Los Angeles and an elected CTA board member, told me yesterday. This morning, the CTA also released a new web ad entitled “Meet a SuperPAC Billionaire who supports Prop 32.”

According the great new website Dollar, Dollar Bill, this latest contribution brings CTA’s total spent against Prop 32 to $16 million. That dwarfs their total of $1.5 million spent on Proposition 30, which would temporarily raise taxes to avoid further cuts to public education.

The ballot measure, which goes before California voters in November, would have enormous long-term implications for public education. Most Democrats are either against the measure or staying as far away from it as possible, with the exception of Gloria Romero.

“No on 32” has raised a total of $33.8 million, almost entirely from unions. “Yes on 32,” meanwhile, has raised only $2.5 million, mostly from wealthy individuals like Charles Munger, Jr. ($600,000) and Jerry Perenchio ($250,000).

“It’s not surprising that union leaders are willing to spend millions and millions of their members’ dues to protect their ability to pull that money automatically out of their paychecks,” Yes on 32 spokesman Jake Suski told me yesterday. “It’s ironic that they’re spending so much money of their members’ dues simply to avoid asking for that money.”

“The argument that this is somehow looking out for our members is ridiculous,” said CTA board member Goldberg when we spoke on the phone. “California is basically the last state where we still have a strong voice in labor. Across the country, millionaires and billionaires are taking over the process. Workers in general, we’re all struggling to survive.”

In the last decade, political spending by the CTA in California has dwarfed that of any individual or interest group.

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