Document:California Press Release 9 June 1999 Who Would Spend $99,000 Per Year for a Janitor

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: June 9, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Who would spend $99,000 per year for a janitor? Governor Davis would

SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gray Davis wants to spend almost $99,000 per year each for government janitors to clean state buildings -- and the Libertarian Party of California says Davis is "trashing taxpayers" in the process.

In the May Revision of the Governor's Budget for the fiscal year 1999-2000, Davis proposes replacing current private janitor services with 87 full-time union government workers at a cost of $8.6 million -- $4 million more than currently being paid using private contractors. That works out to $98,851 per janitor.

"Davis is trashing the private sector and the taxpayer at the same time," charged Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "The governor's backwards proposal exemplifies why government functions should be privatized as much as possible -- lest bureaucrats sweep up every last tax dollar and misspend it."

Davis' proposal is part of his effort to make government more "innovative." "There's nothing innovative about this idea at all," Hinkle pointed out. "Wasteful spending, inefficiency, and catering to special interest groups are the hallmarks of government today."

Hinkle says that Davis' plan is further proof that the governor is repaying favors to the unions, which made substantial contributions to his election campaign. "Davis has promised state workers a wage increase. He's eliminating flexible working schedules by endorsing the return of the eight-hour workday. This latest move is no surprise."

Hinkle noted, however, that although public employees account for 40% of unionized workers today, the unions are just doing their job and aren't entirely to blame. "Fault lies predominantly with government. Elected officials must remember that government exists to serve the interests of taxpayers, not those within government."

Ironically, Libertarians add, the other losers in this proposal are state employees themselves. "The efficiency of the government janitors will not come near that of private janitors, and state employees will suffer by having to work in unclean buildings," Hinkle predicted.

Libertarians say that privatization of government services must not be reversed in California, or the consequences during a recession will be disastrous. "When the economy hits a downturn, Californians will suffer lost jobs and increased taxes if state government continues to expand," Hinkle said.

"Libertarians urge Davis to toss his anti-competitive, anti-privatization, and anti-taxpayer plan in the garbage where it belongs."