California is a hotbed of toxic policy ideas, yet Michigan and Delaware seem to think it sets an example: Both states recently proposed California-like tax credits for union dues, which, in effect, force taxpayers to subsidize Democratic candidates and policies.

Last fall, the Golden State’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill forcing California taxpayers to pay up to $400 million of public and private employees’ union dues via tax-credit subsidies.

This amounts to an astonishingly partisan and self-serving Democratic gift from the general public because union executives overwhelmingly donate their members’ dues to progressive causes and candidates.

Union bosses strive to cling to power as their memberships dwindle, thanks to the growing popularity of “right to work” laws that make joining a union optional and to anti-“card check” laws that mandate union elections allow for secret ballots —- a fundamental right to ensure workers don’t face union bullying or retaliation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the share of wage and salary workers who belong to unions was 10.1% in 2022, down from 10.3% in 2021.

In fact, the 2022 membership rate was the lowest on record; in 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, it was 20.1%.

Former union members are voting with their feet to leave, forcing union leaders to scramble to entice workers to stay — on the taxpayer’s dime.

It’s much easier to lure someone into your club when innocent bystanders are footing the bill.

In Delaware (union cat’s-paw President Joe Biden’s home state), BLS reports the rate’s even lower than nationally, at 8.5% in 2022, down from 9.7% in 2021.

Desperate times call for desperate measures: Under the proposed Delaware tax-credit legislation, Value Walk notes eligible union members could claim a $500 tax credit for union dues.

The bill was approved by the Delaware Senate Labor Committee and if passed would take effect next year.

Edward Capodanno, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Delaware, blasts the legislation as unfair because it favors a specific group.

His association is lobbying against it, correctly arguing that employees at many companies pay membership dues to business organizations and trade associations but don’t get a similar tax credit.

“I don’t see why we’d do it for one specific group if we’re not gonna do it for everybody,” Capodanno fumes.

For all their talk about equity, progressives sure like to create special perks for a narrow sliver of a privileged union class.

The Michigan bill goes even further, offering “refundable” tax credits to dues-paying union members back to Jan. 1 of this year.

That means the credit can offset union members’ tax bill, and if it exceeds that amount, the state cuts them a check for the difference.

This would just incentivize unions to hike dues. Members would suffer no financial hit, since they’d be reimbursed for every dollar they pay. The burden would instead be borne by Michigan taxpayers.

And unlike California’s cap at $400 million (a massive-enough sum), the Michigan bill contains no limits on how much unions can receive in taxpayer money.

Mackinac Center for Public Policy observes this legislation makes the recent repeal of Michigan’s right-to-work law look tame by comparison.

“This proposal means taxpayers, not union members, will be paying 100% of union dues ― and the dues themselves will most likely increase once the bill is enacted,” it says.

“Union members get a full dollar’s worth of refundable credits for every dollar they spend on union dues. Union dues would cease to be a financial obligation of the union’s members and instead would become a Michigan taxpayer obligation.”

California is leading the way among states in mass exodus, topping the charts in population outflow.

It lost a House seat for the first time ever in 2021 and could very well lose more soon.

Per the latest Census Bureau estimates, California’s total population declined by more than 500,000 between April 2020 and July 2022.

Failed policies like the Golden State’s taxpayer-funded union subsidies are why people flee California.

Don’t be surprised if they flee Delaware and Michigan soon, too.