Texas is widely seen as a bastion of conservative and free market policies and governance. However, while Texas is a Right to Work state, it does not have a Paycheck Protection law on the books. As a result, state agencies and municipalities across the Lone Star State relieve government worker union bosses of dues collection responsibilities and take care of that for them using taxpayer resources.
Money the state automatically takes from worker paychecks and hands to union bosses is then used to support anti-business, anti-taxpayer policies and candidates. Today ATR president Grover Norquist sent the following letter to Texas state representatives, urging them to vote Yes on legislation already approved by the state senate that would put an end to this misuses of scarce taxpayer resources:
To: Members of the Texas House of Representatives
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Paycheck Protection Legislation
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Texas, I urge you to support and vote Yes on Senate Bill 13, legislation approved by the Senate, and House Bill 510, legislation introduced by Rep. Sarah Davis. This pro-worker legislation, if enacted, would end automatic government deduction of union dues from public employee paychecks.
It is a completely inappropriate use of taxpayer resources to have state agencies and municipalities serving as the money bagmen for unions, but that is the current practice in the Lone Star State, a fact whose revelation surprises many who otherwise view Texas as a bastion of pro-business policies. The question comes down to whether lawmakers think the state should be in the business of using taxpayer resources to collect political money for government unions. Lawmakers who think that is an improper function of government and use of taxpayer resources can put a stop to it by voting Yes on SB 13/HB 510.
Despite what opponents of this legislation have incorrectly alleged, SB 13/HB 510 would not affect the right to organize and join a union; the legislation would simply require union bosses to collect their dues from workers voluntarily, as opposed to the current practice of having state agencies and municipalities collect it for them. If unions are providing a valuable service to workers, then they will have no problem convincing workers that they should join and pay dues voluntarily without automatic state confiscation. However, research indicates that without proper safeguards, many workers are forced to give up hard earned wages against their will.
A study by the Heritage Foundation found states that passed paycheck protection laws like SB 13 & HB 510 saw union spending on political campaigns and activities fall by an average by 50% after such laws were enacted. In Washington State, the Washington Education Association saw the number of members donating to the political activity fund drop from 82% to 11% following the implementation of Washington’s paycheck protection law in 1992. This underscores the fact that often the goals of the union leadership do not reflect the priorities of workers.
One of the more egregious aspects of automatic confiscation of union dues from government worker paychecks in Texas is fact that money the state collects for union bosses is in turn funneled to candidates and lobbyists who advance and advocate anti-business, anti-taxpayer policies. Enactment of SB 13 or HB 510 would put an end to this racket. As such, ATR urges you to vote Yes on SB 13 and HB 510. ATR will be educating your constituents and all Texas taxpayers as to how lawmakers in Austin vote on this and other important fiscal and economic matters throughout the legislative session.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform