A recent report by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) adds to the evidence that government union officials endowed with monopoly-bargaining and forced-dues privileges routinely wield them to jack up governments’ long-term spending commitments.
As a consequence of Big Labor’s compulsory dues-financed lobbying successes, states that give more special privileges to public-sector union officials routinely burden their citizens with more debt as well as heavier taxation.
In the aggregate, state public pension plans are underfunded by $5.59 trillion, according to “Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2016,” the analysis, published in October, by ALEC Senior Fellow Bob Williams, ALEC Vice President Jonathan Williams, and two other ALEC staff members. (Use the link below to read the entire report.)
That adds up to $17,427 for “every man, woman and child in the United States.” And there is a strong negative correlation between a state’s per capita indebtedness and its having a law on the books protecting employees from being terminated for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union.
The 24 states without such a law have an average unfunded pension liability of $21,822. In contrast, the 26 states with Right to Work laws on the books have a large, but much more manageable average per capita pension liability that is 41% lower.
All of the nine states with the greatest per capita government pension liability (Alaska, Ohio, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, Hawaii, California and Oregon) impose forced dues and fees on employees who don’t want a union. But all of the seven states with the lowest per capita pension liability (Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Carolina, Idaho and Florida) are Right to Work states.
Expressed as a share of 2015 Gross Domestic Product by state, the average unfunded pension liability for forced-dues states is 36%, compared to an average of 26% for Right to Work states.