Earlier today, Attorney General Ken Paxton intervened in a lawsuit against an unconstitutional practice whereby tax dollars are spent to pay for the conducting of public sector union business, such as lobbying.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation originally filed the suit against the City of Austin and the Austin Firefighters Association last month on behalf of plaintiffs Jay Wiley and Mark Pulliam last month, arguing that the practice of “association business leave,” (also known as ‘release time’ or ‘union business leave’) represents a tax-funded ‘gift’ to unions.
The Texas Constitution states, “(T)he Legislature shall have no power to authorize any county, city, town or other political corporation or subdivision of the State to lend its credit or to grant public money or thing of value in aid of, or to any individual, association or corporation whatsoever.”
Because the collective bargaining agreement between the city and the firefighters expressly permits union politicking during release time, the city is effectively using tax dollars to subsidize the functions of a private organization. Therefore, TPPF and Paxton argue, the city is violating the state constitution by providing a ‘gift’ to a private organization.
“By giving taxpayer money to a public employees union, a political organization by definition, so that its members may engage in political activity for their own private benefit, the City’s actions and the CBA itself raise significant questions under the Texas Constitution. Thus, Texas intervenes,” the Office of the Attorney General’s intervention says.
Read the intervention in its entirety here.