California Teachers Association spends millions to extend "temporary" tax increase

July 29, 2016 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

Last year I posted a blog about Bain v. California Teachers Association, a case where several California teachers argued that they should not have to pay the portion of union dues that support political candidates and initiatives favored by the teachers’ unions.  The California Teachers Association (CTA) spends millions of dollars on political campaigns, the majority of which goes to the California Democratic Party Committee.  The teachers lost their case in the trial court.  That decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and briefing by the parties is underway.

In the meantime, the CTA continues its fight to influence California politics.  Four years ago, the union spent more than $11 million on an initiative proposing a temporary increase of state sales and income taxes.  Of course, the initiative passed, giving California the highest income tax rates in the United States.  There will be another initiative on the November ballot–Proposition 55–designed to extend the tax increase through 2030.   In order to collect votes in support of Proposition 55, it has been titled as follows:  “Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare.”   And guess how much money the CTA has contributed to get it passed.  The answer, $10 million (so far).

If the teachers in Bain ultimately win their lawsuit, the CTA may lose some of its ability to influence elections.  But more importantly, it will protect the First Amendment rights of teachers who do not agree with the union’s political and ideological activities.