Pelote, Willie


Willie Pelote is a political and legislative advocated for AFSCME. AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families. He can be contacted using the following information:

Reports of Low Tax Receipts in July 2011 Miss Big Picture

By Willie L. Pelote, Sr.

Recent news reports concerning lower than expected revenues in California during the month of July have prompted some to ask whether it will be necessary to enact additional budget cuts at the state level.

According to H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for Governor Jerry Brown's Department of Finance, such talk is premature.

Palmer said that more sales tax receipts have recently come in, and that July is not a big month for revenues.

Aside from the fact that all of this could have been easily avoided by extending revenues from expiring sales, car, and state income taxes, as the governor initially proposed, this new development presents another opportunity to point out where the real waste in Sacramento lies.

If further budget cuts are needed, the ax should fall first on the state’s failed enterprise zone program.

The Case for Defined Benefits & Retirement Security

By Willie Pelote
AFSCME

In America, anybody who works for a living should be able to afford to retire.

That’s why shunting newly hired and/or existing civil servants into defined contribution or 401(k)-style plans to save taxpayers money, as a new report by the Kellog School of Management and the Simon School of Business suggests doing, is a bad idea.

Doing this will actually cost taxpayers more money and severely weaken retirement security for all Americans.

Republican Demands for State Spending Cap & Regulatory Interference Must Be Rejected

By Willie Pelote
AFSCME

Attempts by the Republican minority to hold the 2011-2012 state budget hostage in order to extract a list of unpopular and dangerous policy changes that will propel California further down the road of Third World mediocrity should be categorically rejected.

In exchange for their votes to approve a budget, Republicans have demanded the imposition of a cap on state spending and a new requirement for the state to produce economic impact reports on any new regulations before they can take effect on big businesses.

They are also calling for state workers to be shunted into 401(k) –style retirement plans and for the retirement contributions state workers have already made to be voided.

These rule changes will be bad news for all Californians, if adopted.

Eliminating Tax Subsidies & Failed Enterprise Zone Program Should Be Sacramento’s First Priority

By Willie L. Pelote, Sr.
AFSCME

Higher than expected tax receipts have set off a new debate in Sacramento about what to do with the new monies.

California Governor Jerry Brown said that he wants to stabilize public education funding and repay past borrowing.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the state assembly recently voted to restore $440 million to child care programs that help low-income families find work.

Although the new tax receipts have effectively cut the state’s current budget deficit in half, Governor Brown should not devote one penny from this unexpected windfall toward propping up the state’s failed enterprise zone program, which funnels precious taxpayer dollars into the pockets of private businesses through wasteful tax subsidies.

Too Close for Comfort

By Willie L. Pelote Sr.
AFSCME

California Governor Jerry Brown is right to call off budget talks with Republicans in Sacramento.

There was no point in continuing a conversation with a minority party bent on obstruction and whose hold on political power is predicated on preventing the emergence of solutions to the state’s structural budget deficit.

It was clear from the ridiculous demands the Republicans were making that they were only interested in lengthening and delaying the budget process in order to forestall a special election in which California voters would have the opportunity to decide whether they wanted to erase the state’s remaining budget deficit through tax extensions.

Beware the Invisible Hand

By Willie L. Pelote Sr.
AFSCME

In California, the state government currently spends more than $34 billion a year paying private contractors to do jobs that civil servants can perform for half the cost.  Another $900 million of taxpayer funds is wasted annually propping up the state’s failed enterprise zone program.  Common sense dictates that any proposal to balance the state budget begin here.

Instead, what is being implemented in state capitals across the country are plans to eradicate traditional retirement and health care benefits for civil servants and, in some cases, to return civil servants to 19th century working conditions by eliminating their First Amendment right to assemble, organize, and bargain collectively as free citizens.

Chop From the Top

By Willie L. Pelote Sr.
AFSCME

If there is a silver lining in California Governor Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal, it is the recognition that we cannot realign state services down to county and local governments or bridge the state’s almost $26 billion budget deficit without revenues.

While the continued cuts to human and social services are troubling and will only compound our present problems, it is refreshing to have a governor who can be honest with Californians about the dire condition of our state and what it will take to fix it.

What Governor Brown is effectively telling Californians with his latest budget proposal is that it’s time to man up.

Tax Subsidies Are Transforming California into Third World Nation

Willie Pelote, Sr.
AFSCME

As Sacramento prepares to inaugurate Governor-elect Jerry Brown next month, the main focus has been on the state’s looming budget deficit and how the legislature and Brown plan to bridge that gap.

For years now, Californians have been told that we must choose between cutting public services and public service employees or budget Armageddon.

However, this is a false choice that has been driven more by political rhetoric than actual reality, as the Wall Street Journal has observed.

An Open Letter to Jerry Brown

By Willie L. Pelote, Sr.
AFSCME

As Sacramento prepares to inaugurate Governor-elect Jerry Brown next month, much of the focus has been on the state’s looming budget deficit and how the legislature and Brown plan to bridge that gap.

For years now, Californians have been told that we must choose between cutting public services and public service employees or budget armageddon.

However, this is a false choice that has been driven more by political rhetoric than economic reality, as the Wall Street Journal has observed.

What we must bear in mind, instead, is that there is a direct relationship between California’s quality of life and the quality of its public services and the people who provide those services.

We Can Afford It: Common Sense Prescriptions in a Time of Unreason

By Willie Pelote
AFSCME

Everybody knows that the best way to get out of a ditch is by pulling yourself up, not by pulling others down.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what many misguided officials are suggesting when they recommend laying off large numbers of public employees and eliminating California’s network of social programs.

These actions will do nothing to restore the shattered fortunes of our recently dispossessed friends and neighbors. Worse, they are likely to exacerbate the unemployment and foreclosure problems faced by our cities and state.