“Here’s a way of paying for things that’s not going to cost you anything.”

Public employee unions, as I’ve noted previously, make up a permanent lobby for bigger government. Now they have a major victory. Oregonians who went to the polls just voted themselves higher taxes. The explanation shouldn’t be that surprising. As The Wall Street Journal notes:

[A] deluge of money. Local and national public employee unions bankrolled the “yes” campaign, with a $6.5 million blitz in TV and radio ads. That was $2 million more than the business community and taxpayer advocates raised. The cash helped the tax increase roll up a 71% margin in the liberal precincts in and around Portland, even as it lost in most of the rest of the state.

The union message was also as clever as it was disingenuous: All of these taxes will be paid by someone else, such as Wall Street bankers, out-of-state credit card companies, CEOs. Only the richest 2.5% will pay a little more in taxes, the unions also claimed.

An opponent of this tax increase put it well, in The New York Times:

“It was a pretty good offer the proponents were making,” Pat McCormick, a spokesman for the lead opposition group, Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes, said sarcastically. “Here’s a way of paying for things that’s not going to cost you anything.”

As Reason‘s Ron Bailey aptly observes, for government employee unions, class warfare pays. (Thanks to Julie Walsh.)

For more on public sector unions, see here and here.