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Union Money and Pennsylvania Politics

To help taxpayers track government (or public sector) union influence in Pennsylvania, Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) has created a new website (paunionmoney.com) that will allow people to easily access information about the financial contributions of public sectors union made to the political campaigns associated with members of the General Assembly.

In 1937 President Roosevelt noted the conflict inherent in the creation of government unions. Unlike their counterparts in private industry, government unions are not negotiating for a share of the profits. Instead, government unions are negotiating for a larger and larger share of tax dollars. To make matters worse, government unions make political contributions and therefore have a say in who sits on the other side of the table during the negotiations. This leaves taxpayers without a seat at the table and stuck picking up the bill for a public sector aristocracy where the pay and benefits outstrip anything in the private sector of the economy.

In 2011 and 2012, states all across America worked to rein in government unions. The government of Wisconsin no longer collects the unions’ dues or political contributions. The unions, like every other private enterprise, now have to send their members a bill. Michigan now prohibits teachers unions from using their members’ dues for political purposes without their written consent. In Indiana, a worker can no longer be forced to join or support a union as a condition of employment*.

In Pennsylvania, where the supposedly pro-taxpayer Republican Party has its largest majority in over 50 years, why has nothing changed? Because government union money flows to members of both parties in, from “leadership” to newly elected members.

We hope that easy access to this information will encourage taxpayers to speak with their Representatives and Senators about the priorities they have and determine what role government unions should have in shaping the future of Pennsylvania.

*Note: Since passing their right to work law in February 2012, Indiana has seen a marked increase in job creation and business investments directly attributable to the changes.

This post is an adaptation of a blog originally posted on the CAP website.

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