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Californians pay the highest income and sales taxes in the United States, and the government recently piled on a $5.2 billion tax on gasoline, diesel fuel and vehicle fees. Taxpayers recently got some clues about what the state will do with all that money. According to the state controller, the state is bulking up its payroll by more than $1 billion, doubling the rate of growth from the previous year. The state boosted the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation alone by 9 percent, an increase of $452 million, nearly half a billion dollars. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection grabbed an additional $87 million, an increase of 13 percent. The state also increased by 56 percent the number of government employees paid more than $300,000 a year.
As we noted, the Service Employees International Union claims the California legislature is “our house” and the figures back up that boast. The state gave its biggest contract to SEIU local 1000, a total package of $234 million including bonuses of $2,500 for more than 95,000 workers. It remains unclear what, if anything, the SEIU members did to earn any bonus. So SEIU’s purchase of state politicians paid off big-time, but it was hardly the only windfall.
The state paid CalPERS investment boss Ted Eliopoulos $768,000 in 2016 and in 2017 the state boosted him to $867,000. That’s nearly a million dollars in pay alone, but the state can also make a government employee a millionaire, even when the employee is not working at all. According to Transparent California, Donald F. Colson, a principal engineer with the Department of Water Resources, who worked on the defective and unsafe Oroville Dam, retired in 1996 after 39.2 years of service, with a pension of $96,216.48. So in the past two decades, Mr. Colson has bagged more than $2 million courtesy of California taxpayers. They should understand that, in practice, “Golden State” means rule by government employees and for government employees.