By Paul Kersey, Mackinac Center
House Bill 4929 was a decent bill that got turned into a great bill, and it now sits on Gov. Snyder’s desk. It started out life as a proposal to prohibit school districts from collecting union dues on behalf of unions, and that remains in place. This was a pretty good idea in its own right; school employees will still owe unions dues and unions could threaten to have them fired if they refused to pay up, but the unions will have to do their own collections work. The basic principle is very sound: government employee unions are essentially partisan political institutions, and government should not go out of its way to aid political partisans.
But in the process of debating the bill the Senate added what may prove to be an even more valuable section, one that requires government unions have their books audited, and then submit the results of those audits to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, which will then make them available to the general public. The audits are supposed to focus specifically on the costs of collective bargaining, contract administration and grievances. This is something that Mackinac Center analysts have advocated for many years, and it is gratifying to see the Legislature take this step.
This is incredibly valuable for three reasons.