The goal of Act 10 was to remove unfair powers wielded by government union executives over state budgets, education policy, and politics.
A recent study from the Commonwealth Foundation found that Act 10 saved Wisconsin taxpayers nearly $7 billion in 2018. Other analyses from a free-market think tank in Wisconsin suggested it helped resolve a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes, while the savings produced by Act 10 enabled future tax cuts that helped create 42,000 new jobs — including 20,000 jobs in manufacturing. Thanks to the reduced influence of government unions over state education policies, the number of low-income children benefiting from Wisconsin’s school choice program has increased nearly thirtyfold, to almost 15,000 students.
“As seen in Wisconsin, where public-sector labor reform leads, prosperity follows.”Charles Mitchell and Scott Walkernone
Pennsylvania and other similarly situated states could benefit from following Wisconsin’s example. The Keystone State has more government union workers than any other state except California, New York, and Illinois. Most of these workers lose a chunk of their paychecks each month to pay union executives who often prioritize a political agenda ahead of the workers they claim to represent. And look at what those government unions are achieving: Pennsylvania has the country’s fourth-highest unemployment rate and the second-highest business tax rate, while ranking 45th in economic performance.
As was the case in Wisconsin before Act 10, government unions are the largest campaign contributors in Pennsylvania. Since 2007, these groups have spent more than $150 million on politics, with 90% of campaign contributions going toward Pennsylvania Democrats. These government unions lobby for more government spending, against reforming the state’s pension system, for a government-run liquor monopoly, and against educational options for children and families.
Pennsylvania is not alone. A recent analysis showed that during the last academic year, the nation’s largest teachers’ union spent more on politics than on representing its own members.
Those interested in the rise of Scott Walker might find the Milwaukee County Pension Scandal illuminating.