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HB179 is not worker-friendly

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As a former public employee with the state of Utah for more than 30 years, I want to voice my opposition to HB179. This bill is not employee friendly. In fact, it is a form of discrimination against all public employees.

The bill, which proposes banning public employees from choosing how their money is deducted from their paychecks and where they want it sent, won't save taxpayer money as claimed in recent news articles.

If passed, this bill will force each and every employee who wants to help fund his or her political interests to fill out a form every year and personally hand that form to their employer. That employer must then use taxpayer money to file the form and keep it on record for the coming year, not to mention having to track the status of every employee's form.

There are more than 20,000 state employees alone, not including city, county, public education, higher education and specialty services employees. Imagine the stack of paperwork if every one of them were required to fill out a form every year. That is a waste of taxpayers' money and government resources.

The argument being used by proponents of the bill is that taxpayers are paying for these voluntary contributions to political action committees that serve and protect public employees. This isn't any more true than saying taxpayers are also paying for contributions to charitable organizations, banks, credit unions and insurance companies that use payroll deduction as well.

In general, employers provide their employees the benefit and ability of having money deducted from their paychecks to go to many types of organizations and companies, including home, life, fire, auto and health insurance companies; charitable organizations; banks and credit unions and more. Why should political organizations be treated any differently? They shouldn't be.

And like the private sector, the government should want to be employee friendly, to offer this type of benefit — without discrimination — to its employees.

As the executive director for UPEA, I speak on behalf of all public employees in saying HB179 is unfair, discriminatory and not employee friendly. It should be defeated, and I ask that public employees across the state voice their opposition to legislators as well.

Frederick Van Der Veur

UPEA executive director