Freedom Foundation

Federal Judge Rains on Gov. Wolf’s COVID-19 Power Parade

Recently, a federal judge ruled on September 14 that Wolf’s shut down orders are unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters and other business owners writing, “even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”

Unfortunately, the ruling may have come too late for many Pennsylvania businesses and family-wage jobs.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in March and it was becoming clear the government-mandated shutdowns were forcing many people out of work, the Freedom Foundation called on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to impose a temporary, three-month moratorium on public-sector union dues collections from government employee paychecks.

Doing so would have allowed tens of thousands of Pennsylvania families to keep more money in their paychecks to pay rent, bills and help support loved ones who found themselves out of work.

It also would have injected, at a minimum, $63 million back into Pennsylvania’s economy. A short-term moratorium on union dues collections could have helped keep jobs alive or even created new job opportunities because people would have been able to spend that money in this state rather than the money going to politicians’ war chests and the union leadership’s six-figure-salaries.

All without raising a single dollar in taxes.

Instead, Gov. Wolf, whose allegiance was long ago bought and paid for by union bosses, refused to even acknowledge our suggestion. He shut down businesses, wrecked the state’s economy and now has asked our Legislature to keep bailing out his mistakes by providing an additional $325 million in aid for small businesses.

Gov. Wolf chose not to take a simple action that would not have increased the financial burden on taxpayers. Instead, he chose to beg for funding from the $1 billion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding that the state received earlier in the year.

Funding the U.S. taxpayer will have to cover.

Facing a looming pension crisis, closed schools and shut down sports, the fourth highest unemployment rate in the nation, including 300,000 out of 600,000 restaurant employees statewide, one might rationally think these dystopian outcomes would convince the governor to re-open the state economy and let Pennsylvanians get back to work.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the response he planned.

Gov. Wolf said in a recent press conference, “I can’t override this virus and I don’t know how school districts can override this virus.”

What he’s not saying is that he’s more than happy to override the ability of Pennsylvania schoolchildren to receive in-person classroom instruction and adults to get back to making a living. Gov. Wolf just signed a 90-day emergency extending his powers for the remainder of the year.

It’s pretty disgusting of public officials who don’t have to worry about missing a paycheck to force others into the unemployment line.

It’s even worse that with so many households suddenly missing an income, government unions insist on taking dues money from public sector employee paychecks.