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Voting on the State Ballot Propositions

November 05, 1988

You have done a disservice to your readers in your Oct. 16 editorial "Safety: Yes on 97." Instead of critically examining the facts, you relied upon the misleading arguments put out by the proponents of the initiative.

Contrary to your assertions, the safety of California workers has not been compromised. I want workers to be adequately protected, and they are under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration program. The federal program is being relied upon by 27 other states, including strong organized labor states such as New York and Massachusetts.

There is no justification for asking taxpayers to pay for the same protection twice--once in federal and the other in state taxes. The real issue facing the voters as they decide on Proposition 97 is not worker safety, but whether they want to eliminate waste and duplication. Since federal OSHA took over, there has been no significant difference in the rate of deaths or injuries in the workplace. During the first 12 months of federal OSHA's watch (July 1, 1987-June 30, 1988), the number of safety standard-related deaths was virtually the same as the previous 12 month period, and actually lower than the annual average during the years under Cal-OSHA.

When you stated that Proposition 97 would revive the "excellent" Cal-OSHA program, you forgot to include some critical information. Both the legislative analyst and the auditor general have in the past criticized the duplicative program and suggested we consider precisely the course of action we have now undertaken.

My decision enjoys strong support in the business community and by taxpayers who have examined the issues and are sick and tired of hearing politicians and others pay lip service to eliminating government waste without doing a thing about it.

GOV. GEORGE DEUKMEJIAN

Sacramento

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