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Commonwealth Foundation


PA Brings Transparency to Union Contracts

by News Release
 

Pa. Brings Transparency to State Union Contracts
Gov. Wolf Signs Historic Reform Shining Light on Collective Bargaining Costs

April 14, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.–Gov. Tom Wolf today signed into law Senate Bill 644, a historic government transparency reform which empowers the Independent Fiscal Office to estimate government union contracts costs before the contracts are finalized.

Sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer, the legislation ends the long-standing practice of keeping Pennsylvanians in the dark on the costs of government contracts until they are handed the bill.

"This is pivotal day for Pennsylvania," commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "For years, the government has negotiated billions of dollars in contracts with public sector unions, many of which donate heavily to the very politicians they're negotiating with. As a result of this legislation, costs negotiated in secret will come to light before, not after, contracts are ratified. We commend Sen. Folmer and members of the state Legislature for championing this critical reform.

"Gov. Wolf has been a vocal advocate for transparency reforms since taking office. We applaud him for making this reform a reality in Pennsylvania. We hope the governor applies this accountability measure to contracts he is currently negotiating, even if they are resolved before the law goes into effect in 60 days. Such action would resonate by providing greater transparency to all Pennsylvanians."

A September 2015 poll found 73% of registered voters support a requirement that a fiscal summary of proposed union contracts be posted online prior to finalization. This support crosses party lines and includes 77% of Republicans, 70% of Democrats, and 74% of Independents.

"State worker compensation is approaching $100,000 per employee," Brouillette continued. "It's time Pennsylvanians see the bill before they get the receipt. This commonsense reform puts the people of Pennsylvania before special union interests and holds our elected officials accountable to the people they serve."

The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.


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