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OPINION: California’s 2014 Local Tax Proposals – The Costly Alternative to Pension Reform

As a result of the failure of policymakers to implement pension reform, local governments throughout California have had to resort to numerous tax increase proposals, writes Ed Ring of UnionWatch. Although the average household income in California is approximately $60,000, the average total compensation of California city employees is now over $120,000, which places a heavy burden on taxpayers.

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NEWS: Gas prices fueling debate

California's gas prices are already among the nation's highest, but prices could go up as much as 76 cents a gallon in January, when new cap-and-trade regulations take effect, reports the Press Enterprise. With the nation's highest gas taxes and a special fuel blend that drives gas prices up more, bipartisan leaders are urging a delay of any additional cost increases.

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OPINION: Resigned to Freedom

The California Teachers Association, one of the state's most influential government employee unions, may be resigned to eventually relying on a system of voluntary dues, reports Larry Sand of City Journal. Some labor leaders are now beginning to argue voluntary dues may not harm unions, but could benefit them, citing AARP and the NRA as two examples of highly successful groups sustained by voluntary dues.

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NEWS: Ninety Percent of EPA Stimulus Funding for Diesel Reduction Program Misspent

An audit conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency found $26.3 million in grant funds designated to programs intended to reduce truck emissions and create jobs was mismanaged. The Washington Free Beacon reports the funds were intended to help stimulate the economy but suffered from problems including a lack of financial controls and incorrect calculations related to job creation.

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Tags: EPA, diesel

OPINION: Acquiescent Teachers and Their Undemocratic Unions

While labor unions present themselves as democracies, a new report from the Manhattan Institute says unions are not as representative of their members as they claim, writes Larry Sand in UnionWatch. The report cites low turnout in union elections, higher voting rates among older members and incumbent leaders who go unchallenged for long periods of time and recommends new reforms to ensure more conservative members are heard.

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Filed Under: News