Unions, Democrats Link Transportation to Philly Schools Funding

For months, state capitol pundits have complained about a “linkage” between votes on transportation funding and liquor store privatization. Indeed, government unions lobbied with taxpayer resources to try to exploit this alleged link and kill both proposals—throwing private sector contruction union workers under the bus in the process.

But it’s Democrats, backed by the Philadelphia public school employees’ union, creating demands for other, unrelated measures before voting on transportation funding. First came reports that Gov. Corbett released $45 million in additional funds for the Philadelphia school district—despite the lack of a contract agreement—in order to win favor for votes on transportation.

Now some Democrats are suggesting they’ll vote for transportation bills only if they get a massive cigarette tax increase in Philadelphia with proceeds earmarked for the school district. “Light ’em up, it’s for the kids!”

Meanwhile, many union leaders continue to oppose any prevailing wage reform, Capitolwire.com reports today (paywall). This, despite the fact that prevailing wage mandates needlessly inflate the cost of road and bridge construction and repair. Proposed changes would save taxpayers $40 million each year—funding that could be used to fix structurally deficient bridges.

This is yet another example of the Big Government party—spearheaded by government union leaders—using every leverage point to grow government while using their political advantage to oppose common sense reforms.