Momentum Builds for Paycheck Protection

For Immediate Release
Commonwealth Foundation
Contact: 717-671-1901

Senate Committee Advances Paycheck Protection

State House and Senate Bills Positioned for Floor Votes

June 26, 2014, Harrisburg, Pa—Today, the Senate State Government Committee advanced Senate Bill 1034 to the floor, signaling lawmakers’ determination to act on paycheck protection which promises political fairness for taxpayers and empowerment for public employees. The movement in the Senate follows Monday’s vote by the House on its own version of paycheck protection, House Bill 1507. The legislation would end the publicly-funded collection of government union political money.

“That both House and Senate committees have acted on paycheck protection legislation this week shows there is a real desire to stop the use of public resources for political purposes,” said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “The momentum on this good government reform should encourage taxpayers and public employees who’ve long been forced to subsidize partisan political activity.”  

John Cress, a public school math teacher from Lawrence County, joined other teachers in calling for an end to the automatic deduction of union dues and campaign contributions via public payroll systems. Cress says in an op-ed released this week, “Give Teachers the Freedom to Choose”:

“Teachers can decide on their own who to vote for and what political causes to fund. I want lawmakers to empower me, other like-minded teachers, and taxpayers to stand up to the schoolyard bullies who think they’re entitled to a cut of my paycheck to push political propaganda. . . . [Paycheck protection] would give teachers and other public employees more freedom to choose how their money is spent on politics—something we should have had all along.”

Paycheck protection would close a loophole that allows government unions to use taxpayer-funded payroll services to collect money used for PAC campaign contributions and other purely political purposes.

Brouillette, a former high school and middle school teacher, commented:

“Fairness and accountability are two hallmarks of good government. Paycheck protection would make all levels of Pennsylvania government fairer by eliminating the conflict of interest inherent in elected officials using public payroll to collect political dollars that can then be given back to them in the form of campaign contributions.

“It would also empower public employees to hold their union leaders more accountable in how they spend union members’ money on political activity. When unions have to get their money directly from members—rather than through automatic payroll deductions—teachers and other public employees will have a much greater control of their unions’ political expenditures.”

For additional background, see Commonwealth Foundation’s paycheck protection toolkit at

Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment.

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The Commonwealth Foundation, founded in 1988, crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.