Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Taken by force

After about 17 hours of debate (from about 3:00 pm Tuesday until approximately 8:00 am Wednesday), the MN State Senate, by a 35-32 vote (with zero Republicans voting "yes"), passed Senate File 778, a measure requiring in-home childcare workers and personal care attendants to join a public employees union. In perhaps one of the more unamerican (Yep. I said it. Unamerican. Whatcha gonna do about it?) pieces of legislation I have ever known, these small business owners (not employees; owners) are asked forced to do something approximately 90% of them don't want to do.

The House will take up this matter as early as Friday. With the legislative session slated to end on Monday, it's possible the GOP may be able to "run out the clock" on this one.

One of the more galling aspects of this whole process was the erratic behavior of Sen. Terri Bonoff  (D-Minnetonka). While on the Senate Finance Committee last week, Senators Bonoff and Barb Goodwin (D-Columbia Heights) broke from their party and cast "no" votes on SF 778, which resulted in an 11-11 committee vote. With that deadlock, the Senate version of this union power grab was buried. Ah, but as is the DFL's wont, they once again declared a "Mulligan", similar to the floor vote they had taken on the tax bill the week before. So when taking a second committee vote, Sen. Bonoff inexplicably change her vote to "yes" despite declaring that she still opposes the actual bill.

That has to be the most stupefying logic I have ever heard. If Sen. Bonoff's position on the bill is in line with her constituents (who she says oppose it) then why would she vote to bring it to the Senate floor and risk passage? Her killing it in committee would be something her constituents would apparently rejoice in since they adamantly oppose this legislation.

By the way the other DFLer who voted "no" in the Finance Committee, Sen. Goodwin, stuck with the courage of her convictions and voted "no" in the second committee vote. But on the floor vote? Sen. Goodwin inexplicably voted "yes." I haven't seen any on-the-record explanation as to why the flip, but I'll bet it's a doozy.

So the next time you hear that DFL pap about how they're the party of the middle class and that they care more about the children, just remember all of this if indeed this legislation becomes law. Childcare workers will take a hit on their bottom line when having to fork over union dues (even if they opt out, they still have to pay a percentage of full dues, aka "fair share."). I have yet to meet any childcare workers that are in the top 2% income bracket, which the DFL pledged would be the only people dinged financially. Also, by opting out of the union, a childcare worker will not be eligible to accept low-income families who receive Child Care Assistance. So not only is the opting out childcare provider losing business, low-income families are going to have fewer options for providers. And the providers that will begrudgingly accept union membership will likely pass extra costs on to the consumers. Again, I don't know of many folks in the top 2% income bracket who are utilizing daycare services to begin with, so that is also going to be quite a burden.

So much for that DFL promise that there won't be any extra financial onus on the middle class. They have more pressing issues to address, like paying back their generous donations received via the unions.


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