Most people would agree that tax dollars should not be used to collect the political money of private organizations, effectively forcing taxpayers to subsidize organizations that donít share their values.
Yet, this is exactly whatís happening in Pennsylvania.
Currently, state and local governments use taxpayer resources to collect union dues and PAC money (which can be given directly to candidates) for select government unions, the only organizations afforded this political privilege.
Fortunately, paycheck protection legislation would end this practice by requiring unions to collect their own dues and PAC money, establishing fairness for taxpayers and making government unions more accountable to their members.
Some opponents of paycheck protection may claim that dues canít be used for politics, so whatís the big deal? But we know that isnít true. The PSEA ó the largest public sector union in Pennsylvania ó told its members (in a note buried in its magazine) that 12 percent of their dues will be spent on politics this year.
Theoretically, union members can resign their membership to prevent their money from being used for political purposes. But this safeguard has proven ineffective, especially when government unions donít categorize their spending properly.
This deception occurred when the UFCW 1776 categorized its blatant political spending, including $1 million in TV ads, as ďrepresentational activities,Ē forcing non-members ó who have no vote in union elections, much less any say in how their money is spent ó to subsidize the unionsí politics.
This is unfair to public employees and taxpayers. Itís time for a change.
The Commonwealth Foundation