A Transparent Win for Taxpayers

Today the Senate took a significant step to make state government more transparent and accountable by approving SB 644 and SB 645. Here’s a brief description of the bills now heading to the House:

  • SB 644, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer, empowers the Independent Fiscal Office to provide the public with cost estimates on state public sector union contracts prior to ratification.
  • SB 645, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Stefano, requires public sector collective bargaining agreements to be posted on state, school district, or local government websites two weeks prior to signing.

Please click here to send an email to thank the following Senators for voting yes: Alloway, Argall, Aument, Baker, Bartolotta, Brooks, Corman, Eichelberger, Folmer, Gordner, Greenleaf, Hutchinson, McGarrigle, McIlhinney, Mensch, Pileggi, Rafferty, Scarnati, Scavello, Smucker, Stefano, Tomlinson, Vance, Vogel, Vulakovich, Wagner, Ward, White, and Yaw.

The current collective bargaining process permits the governor to negotiate billions of dollars in contracts with public sector unions behind closed doors. In Governor Wolf’s case, he’s negotiating contracts with some of his largest campaign contributors—an immense conflict of interest.

Moreover, taxpayers are barred from reviewing and weighing in on these union contracts they’re required to pay for. Acknowledging this unfairness, the Senate voted to give taxpayers a seat at the table.

The quest for transparency now moves to the House. If the House approves, the governor’s spokesman has indicated Gov. Wolf may sign both pieces of legislation, a move consistent with his promise to augment government transparency.