The California Political Review calculates the money taken in every year by public sector unions in that state, and shows how it gives those unions a powerful say in the running of the state.
In the wake of the Janus ruling, it is useful to estimate just how much money California’s government unions collect and spend each year. Because government unions publicly disclose less than what the law requires of public corporations or private sector unions, only estimates are possible.
. . .
In summary, subject to the limitations in the available data and what appear to be reasonable assumptions, California’s public education employee unions, the CTA, the CFT, and the CSEA, altogether are probably collecting around $589 million per year ... California’s public safety unions, the CPOA, the CPF, and the CCPOA, along with their local affiliates, altogether are probably collecting around $135 million per year ... [and] California’s other major public sector unions, AFSCME, the CSEA including SEIU Local 1000, and the CNA (est. public sector portion at 25%), along with their local affiliates, altogether are probably collecting around $135 million per year.
Based primarily on publicly disclosed 2016 form 990s along with information obtained from their individual websites, in aggregate, California’s major public sector unions are estimated to be collecting over $900 million per year.
. . .
It would go beyond the scope of this analysis to speculate as to what impact the recent Janus ruling will have on government union membership and revenues, or to ponder the degree and kind of political influence of the three major blocks of unions; teachers, public safety, and public service.
It is relevant, however, to emphasize that the reach of these unions, because almost all of them are highly decentralized, extends to the finest details of public administration, into the smallest local jurisdictions. When recognizing the profound statewide impact of public sector union political agenda, it is easy to forget that fact, and the implications it carries for virtually every city, county, special district, or school district in California.
There's more at the link.
California's public sector unions have used their financial and political muscle to feather their members' nests. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out in 2015:
California is among the few states where public employees make as much as 20% more in total compensation than comparable private sector employees.
To a substantial extent, these compensation premiums are driven by the rising costs of public employee pensions and healthcare. In Los Angeles, pension costs have risen to nearly 20% of the city's budget from 3% in 2000. Statewide pension liabilities are increasing at a rate of $17 billion a year, which make the state's current cash surplus a mirage.
As the city and state pay more for public services they've already consumed, there are fewer resources left for other public priorities. Government ends up spending more but doing less, which is a governing formula that pleases neither liberals nor conservatives.
Again, more at the link.
City Journal called California the "beholden state".
The camera focuses on an official of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), California’s largest public-employee union, sitting in a legislative chamber and speaking into a microphone. “We helped to get you into office, and we got a good memory,” she says matter-of-factly to the elected officials outside the shot. “Come November, if you don’t back our program, we’ll get you out of office.’
More at the link.
Public sector unions in many other states wield as much financial - and hence political - clout as they do in California, showing how they've achieved regulatory capture to an alarming extent. This also illustrates why and how public sector unions in Illinois have succeeded in getting such a sweetheart pension deal for themselves, at taxpayer expense - so much so that it's bankrupting the state as a whole.
I hope the Janus decision will help to rein in the public sector unions' ability to fund their self-serving, antithetical-to-democracy activities . . . but I'm sure it won't go far enough. Further reform is probably needed.