CF President Matt Brouillette, Keith Williams and Kristi Lacroix—two public school teachers—along with a host of good government and business groups testified yesterday before a House committee in favor of paycheck protection, which would end the use of taxpayer resources to collect the government unions’ political money.
Here are a just a couple of excerpts from the numerous testimonies given in support of taxpayers and public employees.
First, Matt crystallized the two primary reasons why paycheck protection is needed:
Paycheck Protection is about fairness. Government should provide equal opportunity for all and favor for none. Today, Pennsylvania gives favor to one. Only the government unions enjoy the exclusive legal and financial privilege of having the taxpayers pay for the collection of union dues and campaign contributions. This is not fair. And Paycheck Protection simply requires government unions to play by the same rules as everyone else and collect their own political money. This, is fair.
Paycheck Protection is also about accountability. When unions have to collect their dues and campaign contributions directly from members, teachers and other public employees are empowered to hold their union leaders accountable for how they spend their money. When unions are able to use government resources to automatically withhold dues and campaign contributions, union members are denied the opportunity to use their “power of the purse” to hold their union leaders accountable for how they spend that money.
Keith Williams, a Pennsylvania public school teacher, testified about his opposition to using taxpayer resources for political purposes, an activity which he points out landed a number of elected officials in prison:
Again, as both a taxpayer and teacher, I’m particularly concerned about this use of taxpayer resources serving as a collection tool for political purposes. HB 1507 removes the burden from the district for unfairly utilizing taxpayer-funded payroll services for the purposes of partisan political activity. What other political lobbyists have the ability to collect millions of dollars using the same staff and resources my property taxes currently support? I can think of no other group, and the only individuals I can recall who have co-mingled taxpayer resources with their political campaigning have received prison time.
Kristi Lacroix, a former public school teacher, was also gracious enough to give her time to testify on behalf of taxpayers. After her testimony, she gave an interview to CF, explaining why paycheck protection is so critical for teachers:
Thanks to more than three hours of testimony, the rally attended by hundreds of grassroots activists, and an ad campaign informing the public of an inherently unfair system, the fight for paycheck protection is hitting on all cylinders.
Of course, there’s still plenty of work to be done, which is why we need you to contact your elected officials and let them know that state government should not be in the business of collecting political money for any organization.