Public Unions Why State Suffers

Scott Wagner, the Tea Party candidate who spanked the GOP establishment to win a special election, March 18, to represent the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate sent out this message on July 10 concerning the state’s budget problems.

Yes, he included the Pennsylvania State Educational Association content that was “intended for use by PSEA members and their immediate families” LOL.

Good job Scott.

(Ed note: the link above takes you to Sen. Wagner’s Wikipedia entry which says he was “born in 1955 or 1956”. A man of mystery is he it seems.)

Good Afternoon –
I would like to give all of you an update on the budget process in Harrisburg.
I am asked repeatedly why nothing has gotten done in Harrisburg.
Here is the number one reason: The Public Sector Unions.
Of the public sector unions, the PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association – teacher’s union) is the most powerful union in Harrisburg.
This morning at a press conference, Governor Corbett announced he signed the 2014-2015 budget. He announced that he is blue lining parts of the budget, which would stop funding increases to the legislature.
It is a tragedy that with a Republican Governor, Republican Senate and Republican House that paycheck protection, pension reform, liquor privatization and property tax reform did not get passed.
Below is an email from the PSEA President, Mike Crossey, claiming victory over the defeat of these much needed reforms that I have been fighting for in Harrisburg.
This is a slap in the face for every taxpayer.
By sending this email out on July 3rd, 2014, the PSEA has declared war on Pennsylvania Taxpayers.
I have a lot of respect for teachers and for the job they do educating our children. I have friends who are teachers and I genuinely believe they are good people, but they have no idea who they’re being represented by and how their dues are being spent.
Government Unions Use Dues For Politics.
Government unions spend dues money on mailers in support of candidates, lobbying, and TV and radio ads.
The PSEA sent mailers to Pennsylvania voters endorsing Barack Obama in the last Presidential election.
The PSEA has sent newsletters mocking Governor Corbett to fundraise for its PAC.
In fact some PSEA union members may be outraged to know that some of their dues were sent to Wisconsin to support the recall of Gov. Scott Walker.
The PSEA has over 185,000 members and will collect almost $100,000,000 (100 million) in dues from it’s members in 2014 through the use of taxpayer resources. That is what we’re up against in Harrisburg.
Since I took office, I have been asked repeatedly if I am getting frustrated. I give every person the same answer: I do not get frustrated, I get more motivated.
It is emails like this that fuel my fire to keep fighting for you, the taxpayers, in Harrisburg.
I ask that you share this email with as many people as you know in Pennsylvania.
Thank you,
Scott Wagner

From: Mike Crossey <>;
Subject: State budget scorecard – YOU made the DIFFERENCE
Sent: Thu, Jul 3, 2014 6:24:08 PM

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State Budget Scorecard: YOU made the DIFFERENCE
Once again, Gov. Tom Corbett and his legislative allies attempted to ram through a range of attacks on our schools, our students, and our profession, along with the state budget. Thanks to the tireless advocacy and resolve of PSEA members like YOU, we were able to beat back the worst of them.
There remains no doubt that we need to send Tom Corbett packing in the fall and elect Tom Wolf as our next governor to win much-needed victories for public education. As governor, Tom Wolf will reverse Gov. Corbett’s nearly $1 billion in school funding cuts, protect our jobs, and defend the pensions we’ve earned and paid for.
You have done an outstanding job of speaking up for public education, and, believe me, legislators are listening. Thousands of your emails, your calls, and your letters made it clear that educators and support professionals oppose these attacks and that legislators have an obligation to protect our public schools and the students who learn there.
Thank you for all you do each and every day.
Here is a look at what your advocacy has accomplished:
Pensions: Gov. Corbett made a strong push for passage of a pension proposal that fails to fix the problems that need fixing. Pension experts said the plan, sponsored by Rep. Mike Tobash, would NOT save the pension system much money or help balance the budget but would make drastic cuts to retirement benefits for younger teachers, bus drivers, nurses, and other public employees.

The result: REJECTED.

Even when Gov. Corbett threatened to take hostages – school funding for Philadelphia and the budget itself – in order to get this bad pension bill passed, lawmakers from both parties stood on principle and refused to give in. In the end, leaders in both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate adjourned for the summer without voting on it. In the words of Republican Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, there were “too many unanswered questions about this proposal.”

This happened because of YOU.

You called and emailed your lawmakers to tell them that this pension plan fails to address the real problem – the cost of paying the debt that employers now owe after putting their pension payments on a credit card over a decade ago, while you continued to make your full contributions.

School funding and the state budget: This year marked one of the most difficult state budget debates we have faced in years. A $1.5 billion funding gap threatened to erase even the modest increases in school funding that lawmakers were proposing.


The House and Senate sent a budget to Gov. Corbett on June 30 that takes a small step in the right direction by increasing education funding, but much more needs to be done to reverse Gov. Corbett’s nearly $1 billion in cuts to public school classrooms.

Unfortunately, the largest chunk of new school funding in the budget, $100 million, will be distributed with strings attached through the Governor’s “Ready to Learn” block grant. However, we succeeded in loosening many of the strings Gov. Corbett wanted to attach to the use of these grant funds, making the program more flexible and effective for school districts.

This budget also skirts the most difficult decisions by raiding special funds, using a variety of accounting gimmicks, and inflating next year’s revenue estimates. It is a testament to why we need Tom Wolf in the Governor’s Office, so that we can build a budget that relies less on short-term budget fixes and more on long-term, fair, and sustainable revenues.

What happens next remains to be seen. Gov. Corbett has so far refused to sign the budget, citing his disappointment that the Legislature has not adopted a flawed pension bill. During a July 2 press conference, he said that he was still considering all his options, including a veto of the budget.

Payroll deduction: Right-wing groups spent an incredible amount of time and money over the past five months attacking our right to pay association dues through voluntary payroll deductions. In the waning days of the summer session, a group of legislators made a last-ditch effort to force a vote on this bill.

The result: REJECTED.

When it counted, you flooded the General Assembly with letters, phone calls, and emails calling out this campaign for what it really is: a politically driven attack aimed at bullying middle-class Pennsylvanians like us. You explained how it unfairly singled out teachers, nurses, and public safety workers by prohibiting their voluntary payroll deductions – but continued to allow deductions that go to insurance companies, big banks, and financial companies.

In the end, neither the House nor the Senate had the votes to get it done.

Teacher furloughs: Legislators in the House tried to advance a bill that would give Pennsylvania school boards free reign to furlough you and your colleagues at will without regard to seniority.

The result: REJECTED.

Special interest groups, with the backing of deep-pocketed corporate donors, tried to use Pennsylvania’s school funding crisis to take away our seniority protections. Their bill would have allowed school boards to furlough employees for economic reasons and tie furloughs to the new educator evaluation system that has not even been fully implemented yet.

You fought back, telling your lawmakers to focus on finalizing a state budget rather than making it easier to fire good teachers. The bill languished in committee.
The Senate is scheduled to return for a brief voting session on Tuesday, July 8, and is expected to take up the following issues:
Special education: Lawmakers have spent several months debating legislation that enacts a new special education funding formula, based on the recommendations of a bipartisan legislative commission that received input from parents, educators, and special education experts, including PSEA.


The House passed the new formula, providing a fair and equitable distribution of special education funding that more closely reflects the actual costs of educating students with special needs. The budget also includes a $20 million increase in special education funds – after six years of flat funding and rising costs for school districts.

Charter school pension double dip: Since the charter school law passed in 1997, school districts have been required to include in their payments to charter and cyber school operators an amount equal to 100 percent of a charter’s employee pension costs. On top of this, charter operators receive a reimbursement from the state for 50 percent of pension costs. This means that charter school operators get paid twice.


The House put an end to the pension double dip for charter operators in a companion bill to the budget.
How did PSEA end this contentious legislative session with so many victories? Because YOU spoke out. And legislators listened.
We have more work to do in the months and years ahead. But, if we keep making our voices heard, we will WIN.
Contribute to the ‘Defeat Tom Corbett’ Fund
Let’s make sure this budget is Gov. Corbett’s last.
From pensions to school funding to the future of our profession, Gov. Corbett has pushed for policies that will take Pennsylvania in the wrong direction. It is time to say enough is enough.
We need every member to go All In to defeat Tom Corbett and elect Tom Wolf, who will be a pro-public education governor. This is not an election to take for granted. Gov. Corbett’s re-election campaign will have the backing of deep-pocketed corporate donors and anti-public education groups.
Every dollar you contribute to PSEA-PACE will go directly to defeating Gov. Corbett in November and electing pro-public education candidates. Remember, no dues dollars go to PSEA-PACE, and contributions are voluntary.
Just as important, remember this: Your contribution makes a difference. Nov. 4 is only 123 days away.
Please contribute today.

Get ready for Gettysburg
There are just over two weeks to go until PSEA’s Summer Leadership Conference gets under way in Gettysburg. For those of you who are registered, get ready to spend a week learning innovative skills that will help you become a stronger leader in your local.
This year’s conference runs from July 20-24. Built around a theme of “Effective Leadership… Protecting and Preserving Public Education,” the conference combines learning with fun and is intended to generate the enthusiasm and camaraderie that is vital to good leadership and strong, effective locals.
Check out the Summer Leadership Conference web page for conference materials, including the conference schedule and information on how you can earn three graduate credits and 90 Act 48 hours from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In the coming weeks, you will also find more information about the popular Gburg PSEA mobile app.
Partners for Public Education helps parents understand Keystone Exam remediation
Many of you have made efforts in your schools over the past year to educate parents about the Keystone Exam requirements. At PSEA, we are also doing our part to help parents understand what’s at stake and how they can help their students prepare for the tests and improve their scores.
In the June issue of Partners Post, our sister publication for Partners for Public Education, we offer on overview of these end-of-course tests, including the supplemental instruction available to any student who fails an exam or a part of an exam in any of the three subjects – algebra, biology, and English literature. Check out the post at the Partners web site.
Anyone can join Partners for Public Education for free and receive the monthly Partners Postemail newsletter, full of valuable education news, tips for parents, and information on discounts at stores and restaurants.
Do you have friends, family, or neighbors who might want to become Partners? Tell them about it. Invite them to become a Partner for Public Education today and to Like the Partners’ Facebook Page.
Save some dough on your summer fun
Planning to take any day trips, family outings, or a big vacation this summer? Whether you’re planning some fun in the sun or to cool off indoors, PSEA’s Member Benefits can help you save big on a range of entertainment and recreation opportunities.
Save on admission to big theme parks like Six Flags and Sesame Place, get discounts on car rentals and hotel rooms, and find savings at museums, zoos, and countless other attractions near you.
To learn more, go to
Note: This content is intended for use by PSEA members and their immediate families. PSEA-PACE supports friends of education in state and local elections. Contributions to PSEA-PACE are voluntary and members have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. A member may contribute more or less than the suggested amount, or not contribute, without it affecting his or her membership status, rights, or benefits in NEA, PSEA or any of PSEA’s affiliates.
Contributions to PSEA-PACE are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal or state income tax purposes. Only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may contribute to PACE. No dues dollars can be given to political candidates.



Public Unions Why State Suffers


Public Unions Why State Suffers

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