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The Great Debate

altSANTA CRUZ > Local debate explores whether public employees should be paid less

Santa Cruz has entered the debate on California’s budget deficits, and the Santa Barbara-based California Center for Public Policy (CCPP) is proposing a solution that some people may not agree with: reducing public employee compensation.

The CCPP, a libertarian think tank, organized a “Great Debate” on the subject as part of a statewide campaign to draw attention to the issue. The debate was held at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History on Tuesday, March 13 and was the first of seven debates in cities across California.


The debate opened with 20-minute presentations from both sides of the issue, with 10-minute rebuttals coming from each side. Once the debaters had said their piece, they each fielded questions from the audience.

Lanny Ebenstein, president of the CCPP and an economics lecturer at UC Santa Barbara, argued the organization’s view that public employees are paid too highly compared to their public sector counterparts.
 
“Public employees work fewer hours a day, they work fewer days a week, they work fewer weeks a year and they work fewer years in a career than employees in the private sector,” says Ebenstein.

The organization believes employee compensation, especially pensions, is the root cause of local governments struggling to maintain services because of budget issues.

“Until we get employee compensation resolved,” argues Ebenstein, “we’re not going to be able to offer decent public services at a reasonable level of taxation.”

The CCPP invited former Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin to participate in the event, arguing in favor of public employees.    

Rotkin cited a 2010 joint study by Center for State and Local Government Excellence and National Institute on Retirement Security saying, “If you look just at wages, state employees are paid 11 percent less than employees in the private sector. Local government employees are paid 12 percent less.”

Rotkin argued that the key to battling California’s budget issues is increasing tax revenue, especially on the state’s high-wage earners and large corporations.

“I’m not talking about raising taxes on working people,” says Rotkin. “I’m talking about raising taxes on the people who can afford to pay them.

The CCPP will now take the debate to other cities around the state, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and Berkeley.

To learn more about the California Center for Public Policy, visit their website at: californiacenterforpublicpolicy.com.
 

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We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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