Pa. Teachers Forced To Pay For Wisconsin Politics

Nathan Benefield
Commonwealth Foundation

Want to find out how the Pennsylvania State Education Association is spending teachers’ dues? You chould check out the state of Wisconsin’s campaign finance disclosure site.

That’s right, the PSEA has been using dues—at least $21,000 worth—to support the recall effort against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

According to PA Independent, these dues were likely spent on airfare to send union employees to Wisconsin to help get-out the-vote efforts. The PSEA’s Wisconsin political spending was reported as an in-kind contribution to We Are Wisconsin, a political action group supporting the recall effort. National affiliates of government unions have given hundreds of thousands to the group.

Pennsylvania is a forced union state, meaning teachers can be required to pay union fees just to keep their jobs, even if they chose not to join the union. They are effectively forced to support an extremist political agenda in Wisconsin. And since Pennsylvania law allows the government to deduct political action money and member dues on behalf of unions straight from payroll, taxpayers too end up embroiled in Wisconsin politics.

In fact, Pennsylvanians are being forced to fight the very reforms that would protect them from taxpayer-subsidized collection of union political money. As we noted in our report, The Squeeze, the PSEA spent $4.2 million from union dues for political action and lobbying last year. That is in addition to the $2.3 million the PSEA’s PAC spent in 2009-10 elections, funds also collected at taxpayer expense.

To protect taxpayers and government employees, Pennsylvania lawmakers should enact reforms prohibiting the government collection of political money, and offer workers paycheck protection.

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