As the polls closed Election night, the feeling of anticipation was palpable. We’re freedom junkies, and on November 4th, we got another chance to make a difference. We were a part of what makes this the greatest nation on this planet.
While we enjoy exercising our civic duty, the goal at AFP-Pennsylvania is to focus on economic and individual freedom no matter who wins or loses in May or November.
Our mission is that through our work, and through your work, Pennsylvania becomes a more economically free Commonwealth. The work that I do is for the future of the two little children that I come home to at the end of the day.
In 2014, AFP-Pennsylvania focused on a very important issue – that of Paycheck Protection. While this legislation was not passed, our victory is that we were able to raise awareness on this important issue. We were also able to raise awareness on all of the money that flowed and still flows into the campaign coffers of public unions at the cost of taxpayers.
Public unions are those unions whose membership is comprised of public employees – such as those individuals who are teachers, school administrators and some state and municipal employees. Thus, they have the benefit of using taxpayer resources to automatically collect their Political Action Campaign contributions, dues and soft political money out of employees’ payrolls. That money is then used for lobbying and other related activities, including PAC contributions. It is an unethical use of taxpayer dollars, but it is still legal.
But there more work to be done. When the work of some ends, our work is just beginning.
AFP-Pennsylvania has three top priorities for 2015 because, like you, we want a productive, prosperous and growing Commonwealth that provides the greatest path to prosperity for the greatest number of Pennsylvanians.
First, we’ll continue to fight for low taxes because taxpayers and job creators know best how to spend their resources. We know that taxing something is the best way to kill something. Increasing business taxes kills job creation. Increasing the Personal Income Tax takes money out of the family budget that could be used for gas, groceries, savings or the Thanksgiving turkey.
Second, we support a diverse state energy policy that recognizes the unique role of Pennsylvania energy innovators who create good jobs and provide affordable energy for each of us. Pennsylvania has a long history of energy creation – after all, Pennsylvania’s petroleum history goes back to 1859 when oil was found at Oil Creek. We also have a long history in other very reliable, increasingly clean forms of energy such as coal; and now the enormous amount of Marcellus Shale under the Western counties of our Commonwealth.
Third, we will work to ensure that our children have the best opportunity for a bright future through increased school and parental choice in education. Failing schools can be found all across this Commonwealth. They are in the center city, suburbia, and rural communities. No child should be in a failing school district. We believe that throwing money at a problem does not solve it, but neither does doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result. The big federal government approach does not work. We have seen it fail every time it has been tried. The Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965, Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Act of 1988, Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994 and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and most recently Common Core Initiative. The names keep getting more catchy, but the failing result is the same. Schools need pension reform and prevailing wage reform so that they can make the most of their dollars. Mothers and fathers need to know other options exist – such as charter schools. Businesses can get involved with the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, and we could also look at vouchers or education savings accounts.
While we get disappointed in people, a policy will never let you down. That is why AFP-Pennsylvania focuses on the policy – and only the policy. We’ll be in your community in 2015 to talk about what will help this Commonwealth and this Country become a more free place for our children – and ourselves. Whether you agree with everything I’ve said, or just one, please help make a difference in your community, this commonwealth and your country. Learn more about us on americansforprosperity.org/Pennsylvania.
I’m Anna McCauslin, Director of Policy with Americans for Prosperity – Pennsylvania. Follow us on Twitter @AFPPennsylvania, like us on Facebook, and activate with us at americansforprosperity.org/Pennsylvania.