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Trib editorial: Paycheck protection defeat puts politics ahead of people |

Trib editorial: Paycheck protection defeat puts politics ahead of people

Matt Rourke | AP
The Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg.
Matt Rourke | AP
The Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg.

Politics as usual reared its obtuse head high in the state House last week as lawmakers voted 102-90 to retain government’s role in the collection of political campaign contributions from unionized public workers.

Let’s put this in perspective: Pennsylvania lawmakers and judges have gone to jail for using taxpayer resources in their campaigns. But using government payroll systems at the state, county and local levels to collect campaign contributions for unions’ political action committees? That’s different.

And that’s why Senate Bill 166, which would have removed government’s hand from union PAC collections, went down to defeat despite extensive arguments against this unseemly practice.

“Today, the politicians who are among the top recipients of government union campaign cash voted to continue exempting their big donors from commonsense ethics laws that govern everyone else in the state,” said Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs.

Harrisburg’s union acolytes say S.B. 166 is anti-worker. But these same workers are perfectly free to make their own political contributions. And the argument that it costs the state only $100 to run its electronic-deduction program goes to show that it’s no hardship for unions to collect their own PAC money.

The measure likely will resurface in the Legislature. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania lawmakers had a prime opportunity to vote for the people they supposedly represent instead of the unions that fill their campaign troughs. The people lost.

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