Poll: Large Majorities Back Accountability Reforms

Member Group : Commonwealth Foundation

Commonwealth Foundation
Contact: Gina Diorio, 862-703-6670, [email protected]

Poll: Large Majorities in PA Back Transparency & Accountability Reforms
Paycheck Protection, Contract Transparency, Spending Limits Get High Marks

October 13, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Critical transparency and accountability measures pending in the state Legislature gained overwhelming public support in a poll released today by the Commonwealth Foundation.

The survey of 700 registered voters conducted September 14-23 found:

• 67% support paycheck protection
• 73% support transparency in government union contract negotiations
• 64% support state spending limits like the Taxpayer Protection Act

"The consistently high level of public support for these reforms shows
Pennsylvanians value real—not just rhetorical—transparency and accountability in government," commented Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation.

Paycheck Protection: 67% Support

In the latest election cycle, 10 government unions gave more than $10 million in campaign contributions to political candidates. That money was funneled through public payroll systems, essentially making taxpayers an unwilling third party in furthering government union leaders’ political agendas.

"More than two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters believe we should end the use of taxpayer resources for the collection of union dues and campaign contributions," said Benefield. "This support transcends all political parties."

Poll Results: Paycheck Protection

Overall Republican Democrat Independent
Total Support 67% 75% 59% 69%
Total Oppose 26% 16% 34% 22%
Undecided 7% 7% 6% 9%

In addition, 80 percent of union households believe taxpayer resources should not be used to collect campaign contributions, according to a 2014 poll.

Click here for more information on paycheck protection.

Government Union Contract Transparency: 73% support

On September 25, board members in Monessen School District outside Pittsburgh unanimously approved a new teachers’ contract whose terms, including the cost, remain secret. The same situation occurs regularly in school districts across the state and in municipal and state government union contracts worth billions.

"Monessen is the latest example of massive violation of the public’s right to know how their money is being spent," state Benefield. "It is unconscionable that district taxpayers were handed a bill for millions of dollars with their names on it without knowing what they’re paying for."
Voters overwhelmingly support posting a fiscal summary of proposed union contracts.

Poll Results: Gov. Union Contract Transparency

Overall Republican Democrat Independent
Total Support 73% 77% 70% 74%
Total Oppose 16% 12% 20% 20%
Undecided 10% 11% 10% 6%

Two transparency bills have already passed the state Senate:

• 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.

Click here for more information on contract transparency.

Taxpayer Protection Act: 64% Support

For decades, out of control spending growth has made Pennsylvania unattractive for those seeking to start a family and a career.

"The rising cost of government has crippled economic opportunity," Benfield continued. "Pennsylvania ranks just 49th in job growth, 48th in population growth, and 45th in personal income growth in the past two decades. Reasonable guard rails on spending are a must to make our state competitive again."

Nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters want to see state spending growth limited to the rate of inflation and population growth.

Poll Results: Taxpayer Protection Act

Overall Republican Democrat Independent
Total Support 64% 71% 62% 59%
Total Oppose 22% 13% 27% 30%
Undecided 13% 14% 10% 11%

Click here for more information on the Taxpayer Protection Act.
Nathan Benefield is available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 to schedule an interview.

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