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Tax consumers working to prevent union dues reform

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As the push for smaller government and greater economic freedom in Oklahoma continues, tax consumers don’t like it.

A notable success on behalf of taxpayers during Oklahoma’s 2015 legislative session was passage of House Bill 1749. The measure was a Scott Walker-style reform, enacting paycheck protection to safeguard taxpayers from government-sector unions that collectively bargain against state government agencies or school districts. (More on the reform here.)

Following the law’s passage, the Tulsa World reported the state’s leading teachers union was advising school districts that HB 1749 was unenforceable, and districts needed to continue processing union dues payments.

Now, however, it appears the unions are truly concerned the new law is enforceable. So they are taking legal action to try and stop it.

On Aug. 19, The Oklahoman reported the unions have filed a lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court seeking to throw out the law.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt is now responsible for defending the new law, which is set to take effect Nov. 1.

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello summed up the paycheck protection issue well in a Feb. 18 Tulsa World piece:

“One of the major reforms adopted in Wisconsin under the leadership of Gov. Scott Walker was to get government out of the business of collecting union dues. Oklahoma has a chance to follow Walker’s lead. . . . What union officials should not expect is for Oklahoma taxpayers to prop them up by using state and local government as their dues collection agency.”

For years, Oklahoma government unions were happy to let taxpayers facilitate their funding streams. Now, they don’t want the good times to end.

But Oklahoma taxpayers aren’t forced to facilitate membership dues to the National Rifle Association for an employee of state government or of a school district. Nor are they required to facilitate monthly tithes to an employee’s church.

In the same way, Oklahoma taxpayers should not be forced to facilitate dues payments for unions that aggressively lobby for more taxpayer money.