• Robbery: PA GOP Attack Unions For Draining Taxpayer Dollars

    Pennsylvania Republicans in the Senate passed a bill Wednesday to stop the state from using taxpayer dollars to help public unions raise political funds.

    The measure will still need approval by the state House and a signature from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. If passed, it will stop the state from soliciting political contributions for the union. The measure will also prevent the state from helping unions extract union dues used for political activity. Regardless, the state will still help collect the portions of dues used strictly for representing workers.

    “It’s common sense that public resources should not be used for private, political gain,” Commonwealth Foundation President Matthew Brouillette said in a statement. “Recent polling confirms public support for this reform.”

    The measure has been nicknamed “Mary’s Law” after one incident which brought scrutiny to the practice. Mary Trometter, a former member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), had her own name used without permission in a state sponsored union campaign. Her husband received a mailer from the PSEA asking him to join Mary in voting for Wolf for the gubernatorial election last year.

    “With nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvania voters backing paycheck protection,” Brouillette continued. “We congratulate the Senate for standing up to special interests and demanding fairness for taxpayers and public employees.”

    A 2014 poll conducted by the foundation found 67 percent of union households believe the collection of dues by the government is not a good use of taxpayer dollars. The practice is costly, with the state spending several million dollars to help unions politically.

    Critics say the measure will hurt workers because unions are needed to protect them. Taking away union power means they will be less likely to protect workers among others who need it. This includes underprivileged people like those in minority and the gay communities.

    With a strong majority in the House, the bill looks likely to advance there as well. Wolf, who has often favored unions, is likely veto it.

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