As we noted back on May 8, Colorado unions responded to the appearance of a "right to work" initiative on the state's November ballot by qualifying several stridently anti-business "revenge initiatives", including one that would greatly expand the personal liability of company executives. (Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, for one, called the union-backed initiatives "poison pills" that threatened the state's ability to attract business.) Now the revenge initiatives have had their intended effect: in exchange for the unions' agreement to drop the measures, business leaders have agreed to contribute millions of dollars to the cause of defeating the right-to-work initiative. (Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 2). More: WSJ is also on it this morning with an editorial.
In the periodic battles over state initiatives, revenge initiatives have become a favorite tactic of the opposition; as Carter noted this spring, the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association managed to dispose of a fee-limiting initiative by threatening in turn to qualify nine (!) separate counter-measures seeking to inflict pain on real estate agents, doctors and others, with the result that business interests pressured the initiative's backer to withdraw it as part of a resulting truce. More than once the revenge initiatives -- garish scarecrows though they were -- have in fact been voted into law, as was the case with both California's insurer-bashing Prop 103 and Florida's anti-doctor "three strikes" law.