Flocks, Sara


Sara Flocks is the Public Policy Coordinator for the California Labor Federation (CLF). CLF is made up of more than 1,200 AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions, representing 2.1 million union members in manufacturing, retail, construction, hospitality, public sector, health care, entertainment and other industries.

New Study: Lowering Business Taxes May Actually Be Harmful

By Sara Flocks

It seems like only yesterday that Texas Governor Rick Perry was bragging about his "hunting trips" to California to steal companies and jobs away from our state. That was at the same time that a delegation of California’s Republican state legislators (and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom) traveled to Texas to learn why that state had the alleged edge over California on job creation and economic growth.

Furthering the Vision of High-Speed Rail

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

The voices of doom and decline say that high-speed rail cannot be built in California. They’ve tried to stop the forces of progress by calling high-speed rail "a boondoggle" and "a waste." This is not a new phenomenon. Enemies of progress said the same thing about the Golden Gate Bridge, built in the middle of the Great Depression. They screamed “boondoggle” at every major public works project in the 20th century while California was constructing a world-class infrastructure of freeways, dams, bridges and aqueducts that fostered a golden age of middle-class growth.

The Labor Movement rejects the voices of doom, because we have a vision for California. We know it’s time to invest in California’s future, starting with construction of high-speed rail.

California on the Edge (and Prop 13)

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

“Proposition 13 set up an unfair and dysfunctional two- tiered system of property taxes. It choked off a source of revenue, and the lack of that revenue has brought California to the edge.” –Kevin Starr, historian and California State Librarian Emeritus

Many Californians would agree with Kevin Starr that our state is teetering on the edge of disaster. Unemployment remains the second highest in the nation, 32 percent of all mortgaged homeowners are underwater, public schools have been cut to the bone and public universities are unaffordable for the middle class.

Bleeding Cash Through a Hole in the Tax Code

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

From President Obama to Governor Brown, politicians tout tax breaks as the way to create jobs and stimulate economic activity. Tax breaks supposedly lure businesses to California and give them incentives to create jobs for the 2.3 million currently unemployed Californians. California has over 82 tax breaks on the books and legislators push for new ones every session as part of job creation packages.

Some experts question the effectiveness of giving corporations billions of dollars in tax breaks with no guarantees that the company will create jobs, or that they won’t move jobs out of state. A recent study by the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes reported that:

California Labor Federation's End-of-Session Legislative Round-up

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

For the first time in nearly eight years, California has a Democratic governor brandishing the pen as the legislative session draws to a close. The Legislature sent nearly 600 bills to Governor Brown who has until October 9 to sign or veto the measures.

Without Schwarzenegger in office to veto any and all worker-friendly legislation, armies of corporate lobbyists descended on the Capitol to kill labor legislation before it could get to Governor Brown. Unions fought back hard, pushing through a number of key pieces of legislation to the governor.

The California Labor Federation moved a package of bills, co-sponsored with affiliates, to protect workers, create and retain good jobs and make sure our public dollars are spent effectively. Over the next week, "Labor’s Edge" will highlight several Labor Federation sponsored bills that would make a significant positive impact on the lives of workers with a signature from Governor Brown.

There’s a Hole in the Budget Bucket

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

Uh-oh. It looks like there’s a hole in the bucket Governor Brown is using to bail out the state. After Republicans refused to let voters decide on tax extensions, the legislature scrambled to put together a budget that avoided cutting essential services like education and public safety. In the end, Governor Brown signed a budget into law that depended on $4 billion in projected new revenues to close the gap.

Death and Taxes

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

Tax day is stressful enough, but this year, Californians are faced with the added pressure of filling a $15.4 billion hole in the state budget. If Republicans successfully block Californians from voting on temporary tax extensions, then the state will be forced to make even more drastic and brutal cuts to fill the gap.

The connection between what we pay in taxes and what we get in state services has never been so clear. Every dollar the state loses in revenue is a dollar that comes out of our schools, our universities and our state’s future.

Blue Shield Puts Profits Before People

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

I have a friend, Patty, who worked as a waitress to pay her way through college. She worked hard and studied hard, so when she got sick and couldn’t get better, she just chalked it up to stress. For two years, Patty was chronically ill with mysterious and debilitating symptoms. She knew she should go to the doctor, but she didn’t have health insurance through work, and she couldn’t afford to buy insurance and pay for rent and tuition at the same time. So she never went to the doctor. Eventually, Patty ended up in the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a thyroid problem. Since she had not gotten care for so long she had to immediately have surgery, which left her with $10,000 in medical debt.

Top Ten Reasons to Shut Down Enterprise Zones

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

1. A FAILURE: They’re a job creation program---that DOESN’T CREATE JOBS!
2. TOO EXPENSIVE: Taxpayers have spent $3.6 billion on the program since 1986 and the total cost has grown by 35% each year on average.
3. MONEY FOR BIG CORPORATIONS, NOT SMALL BUSINESS: Major corporations with assets over $1 billion, like Wells Fargo and Nordstrom’s, benefit the most from the program. Even big banks get a cut!
4. REWARDS HIGH TURNOVER: The hiring tax credit is for new “hires” not new jobs and the amount of the credit decreases the longer a worker stays on the job.
5. REWARDS LOW-WAGE JOBS: The hiring credit caps at 150% of minimum wage, meaning that employers have an incentive not to pay higher wages—it doesn’t increase how much free money they get.

Court Ruling Escalates Right-Wing Attack on Health Care Reform

By Sara Flocks
California Labor Federation

The Republicans have tried to sabotage health care reform since it was introduced—disrupting town hall meetings, spreading lies about the legislation (remember death panels?) and now trying to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act. But Republicans have completely failed at defeating a law that extends health coverage to millions of Americans who are uninsured.

Since they can’t win repeal, Republicans have resorted to trying to dismantle the law piece by piece. They’ve held symbolic repeal votes and launched lawsuits in 28 different states with Republican governors or attorney generals. The lawsuits focus on ruling small pieces unconstitutional, like the individual mandate, in order to take down the entire law.