NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Forced Union Dues Have Crushed Illinois Taxpayers

February 13, 2015

The state of Illinois has struggled economically, with falling employment stagnant wages and declining tax revenue due to residents leaving the state. Last month, Paul Kersey of the Illinois Policy Institute issued a report calling for right-to-work legislation, contending that allowing Illinois workers to opt out of union membership and fees would improve the economy and benefit workers. Indeed, states with right-to-work laws have seen higher employment growth, lower unemployment and higher population growth than their non-right-to-work peers.

Now, James Sherk at the Daily Signal reports that on Monday, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) signed an executive order making union dues voluntary for public employees. Because Illinois lacks a right-to-work law, its government employees are required to pay fees, even if they don't join the union itself.

The power of the unions is reflected in public employee wages: Illinois government employees earn 26 percent more than their private sector peers, in addition to generous pension benefits. Of course, Sherk notes that such generous benefits has put Illinois' finances in chaos, and, according to Bloomberg, Illinois has less than 40 percent of the money it needs to pay its pension obligations.

Of course, the money to pay for these benefits doesn't just appear: it comes from taxpayers who, in Illinois, pay the second-highest property taxes in the country.

Sherk highlights a quote from Governor Rauner who called forced union dues "a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers."

Source: James Sherk, "Illinois Governor Ends Forced Union Dues for State Employees," Daily Signal, February 10, 2015. 


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