State Worker Pensions Extreme In Pa.

By Sen. Scott Wagner State Worker Pensions Extreme In Pa.

Beginning on Monday, March 16 and concluding yesterday, April 2, the Senate Appropriations committee held 35 hearings at which time each state department acting secretary testified to the committee as to their specific department budget for the 2015-2016 year.

Sen. Pat Browne from Lehigh County is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Browne is a certified public accountant and attorney. He also was a tax manager for Coopers and Lybrand from 1990 to 1994 and a tax supervisor for Price Waterhouse from 1986 to 1990.

I would like to point out that I am impressed with Sen. Browne’s leadership on the Appropriations Committee, his level of expertise in tax matters, his knowledge of the law as it relates to the budget and his knowledge of the Pennsylvania budget.

I am also honored to be working with other senate members who have spent a great deal of time and effort getting a grasp on Governor Wolf’s breathtaking budget.

The committee hearings were very informative and went into great depth of each department.

The area that I find most troubling is the excessive cost of benefits for state employees.

In the private sector world the percentage of benefits over and above an employee’s annual compensation would rarely ever exceed 50 percent and in most private sector industries the percentage is closer to 40 percent.

The documents show the largest driver of the benefits are health care and pension costs – they are wildly out of control.

For example, the Department of Corrections benefits are in the range of 73.5 percent to 79.3 percent over the annual compensation of each employee.

The average corrections worker makes approximately $55,911 annually – add on 73.5 percent for benefits for a grand total cost per corrections employee of $97,005 annually – the benefit cost is a staggering $41,095 per employee.

Using the private sector benefit factor of 50 percent on a corrections employee’s annual compensation of $55,911 annually the benefit cost would be $27,955 per year instead of $41,095 – a reduction of $13,949 per corrections employee.

The Department of Corrections has 14,770 employees – multiply 14,770 employees times $13,949 per employee and the Department of Corrections is paying at least $206 million dollars more in benefits than the private sector using a 50 percent benefit factor.

If I used a 40 percent benefit factor instead of 50 percent the state is paying $276 million dollars more than the private sector just for the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections is only one department and the silent creeping of benefit costs for PA state employees is why we are financially where we are today.

Include all departments in the state and PA is clearly paying in excess of $1 billion dollars annually more than the private sector and has been creeping up for years – this year just happens to be the year to pay up.

I will continue to send any pertinent budget information to you all as we get closer to the June 30  budget deadline.

My prediction is that we will not meet the June 30  budget deadline and it is going to be a long, hot summer in Harrisburg.

At this link are documents that detail the state departments benefit rates.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th Pennsylvania Senate District.

State Worker Pensions Extreme In Pa.

Pennsylvania Senate Hall of Shame

Scott Wagner has created a Pennsylvania Senate Hall of Shame
State Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28)

The Pennsylvania State Senate now has a Hall of Shame, believe it or not.

Sen. Scott Wagner, yesterday, March 17, noted in a column celebrating the first anniversary of his historic write-in win over a party-endorsed candidate to represent the 28th District that among his accomplishments was installation of plaques underneath the portraits hanging in the Capitol of former lawmakers that were convicted of abusing their office.

“The plaques tell the story of the lawmaker’s conviction so that viewers are made aware of the shame brought to the Commonwealth by these individuals,” he said.

Great job and great idea.

Pennsylvania Senate Hall of Shame

Party Boss Gets Schooled In York County

Union Boss Gets Schooled In York County by Sen. Scott Wagner
Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28)

By Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28)

Yesterday (March 11) morning I had a handful of protestors at my Senate district office in York criticizing me over the principled stances that I have been taking in Harrisburg on your behalf, including my efforts to enact Paycheck Protection legislation to prevent taxpayers from paying to collect political money for government unions.

During the demonstration, York County’s Democratic Party Chairman Bob Kefeaver made the claim to me that unions cannot use their member dues for political purposes under current law.

To hear his exact words, click here and you will be taken to York Daily Record reporter Ed Mahon’s website where you can listen for yourself (it is the second video down).

Chairman Kefauver either knows that his comment is untrue or is completely naive as to how dues money is used.

Union dues that have been deducted from teacher paychecks that are sent to the PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) are repeatedly used for political activities – even drawing national attention to this issue by Yahoo News.

The Yahoo News article notes that Mary Trometter, an assistant professor of culinary arts at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board alleging the state’s largest teachers’ union violated a law that says union funds cannot be used to support political candidates.

The PSEA sent a personalized letter to her husband asking him to “join Mary” in voting for Tom Wolf, even though she did not support Tom Wolf and never specified who she was voting for to her union.

In addition, the PSEA acknowledged that similar letters were sent to other PSEA members’ spouses.

Also noted in the Yahoo News article, the November edition of the PSEA magazine featured numerous pro-Wolf ads, potentially violating the Public Employees Relations Act.

And this is just one incident – under the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the dues portion of member dues is eligible for use in SuperPACs.

It is time to correct the lie that union dues are not used for political purposes and put an end to using taxpayer resources to collect money used for political purposes.

In addition, Mr. Kefauver wanted to challenge me over the minimum wage issue and the fact that some people are just unemployable because they cannot pass a drug test and they do not show up for work.

I asked Mr. Kefauver, “How many people do you employ?”

“I don’t employ anybody,” Mr. Kefauver replied.

As an employer, I live with these issues every day.

I have a tough time listening to criticism from someone who does not have first hand experience with it.

That being said, I am not going to let a handful of union protestors intimidate me into backing off of fighting for you and I have every intention of seeing Paycheck Protection make it across the finish line.

Party Boss Gets Schooled In York County

Ed note: I misread Sen. Wagner’s column.  The headline has been corrected and my comment below edited.

Scott Wagner Visits Delco Enemy Turf

Scott Wagner Visits Delco Enemy Turf
Scott Wagner will speak in Delaware County on April 6.

The Republican who has become an outspoken critic of the GOP’s Delaware County contingent in the Pennsylvania Senate will be speaking on enemy turf, Monday, April 6.

Scott Wagner of York County and the 28th District will address the Delaware County Patriots, 7 p.m., in the Knight of Columbus Hall, 327 N. Newtown Street Road (Route 252), Newtown Square, Pa. 19073.

The hall is in the 26th District which is represented by newcomer Tommy McGarrigle, who was one of the five Wagner called out last week for opposing a rather mild pro-worker measure called Mary’s Law, which would have prevented state public employee unions from using the money automatically deducted from worker’s salaries for political campaigns.

The bill, SB 501, failed due to opposition from the Philadelphia-area Republicans.

Wagner, in his missive, was especially harsh on McGarrigle’s fellow Delco Republican, Dominic Pileggi of the 9th District,  saying that since losing his leadership post he is a bitter person and will do anything to undermine the PA State Senate’s new leadership; and John Rafferty of the 44th District (Montco, Checo and Berks) saying he is is self-serving and badly wants to be Pennsylvania’s Attorney General.

So, how do you really feel, Sen Wagner?

The Patriots say invitations have been sent to the Delaware County legislators to attend the event.

It should be fun.

RSVPs are required and can be made here.

Scott Wagner Visits Delco Enemy Turf

Pension Crisis Ignored By Wolf

By Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28)

Governor Wolf unveiled his 2015 – 2016 budget on March 3. Scott Wagner Pension Crisis Ignored By Wolf

The governor is proposing to give the public school system an additional $1 Billion dollars in his budget.

I agree that our public school system needs to be a major focus.

Getting a good education is the foundation for success.

I am a firm believer that our public school system needs to “reinvent itself” to meet the needs to compete in a world economy and also to meet the needs of the ever- changing workforce required for manufacturing and the various skilled labor sectors.

Everyone knows that Pennsylvania has a pension crisis and it must be fixed immediately.

School teachers and administrators who will be retiring in the future are part of the pension system that has to be changed so that Pennsylvanians are not continuing to throw money at a problem that will continue to be a problem and will require more money in the future.

Governor Wolf is in the process of throwing money at the education problem.

Money will not solve the problem –  the problem needs to be fixed first.

In the business world, this concept is called throwing money down a black hole with no results.

There are also plenty of solutions on the spending side that should be implemented which would free up money to actually impact our children’s education.

In addition to pension reform, eliminating prevailing wage mandates on all school district capital and maintenance projects, updating the funding formula would all alleviate some of the financial burden our school districts face.

Pension Crisis Ignored By Wolf

Wagner Blasts Republicans Over Mary’s Law Failure

Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28) sent this email blast out March 3 concerning the failure to pass Mary’s Law i.e. SB 501 on March 2Wagner Blasts Republicans Over Mary's Law Failure
And it was a blast as he called out the five southeast Republican Senators voted no to the amendment — Sens. John Rafferty of Montgomery County, Stewart Greenleaf of Montgomery County, Tom McGarrigle of Delaware County, Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson of Bucks County, and Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County– being especially harsh concerning Pileggi and Rafferty.
Here is what Wagner wrote with the attached article by Jan Murphy that he references.

The purpose of this post is to give you an update on “Paycheck Protection” legislation.

At the end of my post is a story from Penn Live yesterday detailing the vote on this important reform in the PA State Senate.

An amendment was offered yesterday on the floor by Senator John Eichelberger to SB 501.

The amendment offered yesterday would have narrowed the restriction to only ban governments from deducting money that is used for political purposes while still allowing dues collection to support general union operations.

The PA State Senate had a tie vote of 24 to 24 which resulted in the amendment to SB 501 failing to pass.

It was disappointing but not a surprise that five southeast Republican Senators voted no to the amendment.

It was also not a surprise to me that Senator John Rafferty voted no on the amendment – in the ten months I have served in the PA State Senate I have found Senator Rafferty to be the most disingenuous member of the Republican Caucus.

To be honest and direct, I have watched Senator Rafferty repeatedly undermine our new leadership – Senator Rafferty is self-serving and badly wants to be Pennsylvania’s Attorney General.

Senator Dominic Pilleggi is another issue – since losing his leadership post he is a bitter person and will do anything to undermine the PA State Senate’s new leadership – the good news is that Senator Pilleggi is running as a judicial candidate for Common Pleas Court in Delaware County – the sooner that Senator Pileggi is gone from the PA State Senate the better for everyone.

I can assure you that our PA State Senate leadership and conservative members will continue to push to pass this important reform.

To achieve our many goals to move Pennsylvania forward it is critical that we elect additional conservative Republican members to the PA State Senate.

It is my personal goal to add a minimum of four additional conservative Republicans to the PA State Senate in 2016 so that we can advance the right agenda for Pennsylvania.

Bill restricting union dues collection fails but not dead yet in Pa. Senate

By Jan Murphy | The Patriot-News
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 02, 2015 at 7:05 PM, updated March 03, 2015 at 11:58 AM

An attempt to pass a controversial amendment to a bill that would restrict union dues collection from state and school employees’ paychecks narrowly failed in the state Senate on Monday.

But most likely, we haven’t seen the last of this amendment to this so-called paycheck protection bill.

The Senate voted 24-24 to defeat the amendment. A short time later, it voted 29-19 to reconsider the amendment at a later time, keeping it alive.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair County, would have made it illegal for government to deduct union dues from state and school employees’ paychecks. The amendment offered on Monday narrowed that restriction to only ban governments from deducting money for unions that is used for political purposes while still allowing dues collection to support for general union operations.
“I think that legislation is not the answer.” Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

The amendment was crucial to winning the support of Republican Sen. Chuck McIlhinney of Bucks County, who indicated last week he would be a no vote without that change.

Every Republican vote the amendment could muster was needed to pass since Democrats voted as a block to oppose the bill along with five Republican senators from the southeastern corner of the state – Sens. John Rafferty of Montgomery County, Stewart Greenleaf of Montgomery County, Tom McGarrigle of Delaware County, Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson of Bucks County, and Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County.

When the vote on the amendment ended in a 24-24 tie, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack cast a vote against the proposal although Senate staff said later that the tie vote had already ensured its defeat.

Afterward, Stack seemed pleased he had the chance to cast a vote against this particular amendment, even though it turns out it wasn’t necessary.

“I just think it’s anti-labor and it’s designed to take away the ability of unions to organize and I’m one of those people who believe we have a middle class here in Pennsylvania because of the worker unions,” he said. “They are not perfect and no organization is perfect but I think that legislation is not the answer.”

*This story was updated to reflect the fact that the tie vote on the amendment resulted in its defeat and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack’s vote didn’t break the tie.

Wagner Blasts Republicans Over Mary’s Law Failure

Union Intimidation Try Fails

By Sen. Scott Wagner

‘Tis the season for union officials and lobbyists representing public sector union employees to be swarming the Capitol now that there’s a new governor in town, and especially a new governor who received substantial campaign contributions from public sector unions.

Union Intimidation Try
The flyer the United Steelworkers delivered to Sen. Scott Walker and other Republican legislators.

On Feb. 10,  a flyer was delivered to my office (and many offices of Republican House and Senate members) informing me that I am being watched by the Steelworkers.

While I appreciate their watchful eye and feel safer, they should take note that I am being just as observant.

My office location is right outside of the rotunda and if I go outside of my office and look down the hallway towards the governor’s office, which is at the opposite end of the building, the union officials and lobbyists representing public sector union employees are very noticeable.

Why would union officials and lobbyists representing public sector union employees be swarming the Capitol you may ask?

Well here’s a good reason…Governor Wolf took sizable campaign contributions from public sector unions so those unions are now looking for a return on their investment.

The return on investment comes in the form of pay increases for public sector union workers.

As the Commonwealth Foundation pointed out, Governor Wolf received more than $3.4 million dollars from twelve public sector unions.

AFSCME, UFCW, SEIU, and PSEA gave more than $2.36 million in direct PAC campaign contributions to Gov. Wolf’s gubernatorial campaign and gave millions more in indirect SuperPAC expenditures.

Most, if not all, of this money was deducted from paychecks of public sector union employees using taxpayers’ resources.

In the next three to four months, major public sector union contracts are up for renewal and public sector union officials are looking for pay increases for their members.

Governor Wolf will be the one negotiating the salaries, health insurance and other workplace benefits with the same people who donated so heavily to his campaign.

It is important to note that House and Senate members have no role or input when Governor Wolf negotiates with the public sector unions.

The increased wages that Governor Wolf will hand over to public sector unions will cost the taxpayers more money and the House and Senate will have to figure out how to pay the bill.

So here’s an interesting question – Pennsylvania has over a $2 Billion dollar plus shortfall and state workers are already making 15-25% more than private sector workers…why would pay increases be justified?

Your guess is as good as mine.

While the Steelworkers are committed to watching me, I am committed to watching your tax dollars and ensuring they are being spent wisely.

Stay tuned…

Pennsylvania State Sen. Scott Walker represents the 28th District.

Union Intimidation Try Fails
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