police sheriff law enforcement badgeArizona court rules government employee unions can’t bill taxpayers for their organizing expenses

Taxpayers won a small victory against the government employee unions that are driving cities and states into bankruptcy.

An Arizona court has ruled government employee unions can’t stick taxpayers with the bill to pay union organizers that aren’t performing public work.

“The Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) wrongfully used taxpayer dollars to pay union representatives who had ceased to perform the duties of their government jobs in order to serve their labor representatives,” the Washington Free Beacon reports.

“Release time provisions do not require that officers in the full-time release positions perform any specific duties,” the court ruled. “The City’s expenditure for the release time was grossly disproportionate to what it received in return, given the lack of obligation imposed on PLEA.”

In other words, unions wanted taxpayers to fund the paychecks of their officers.

The PLEA was billing the city of Phoenix for six police officers who spent 2,000 hours performing union duties, rather than those of a police officer.

This “release time” cost taxpayers a million dollars a year, for work that had nothing to do with the police department.

“A lower court had ruled that the release time arrangement violated the state constitution because it enriched a private entity at the taxpayer expense,” the Free Beacon reports. “The appeals court upheld the ruling.”

Taxpayer advocates hailed the ruling.

“There is absolutely no justification for having taxpayers foot the bill for union officials to conduct union business,” said Patrick Semmens of the National Right to Work Foundation.

“If what the union officials are doing is worthwhile then union members will voluntarily pay dues to support those activities. Official time lets government union bosses avoid accountability from both taxpayers and rank-and-file union members,” said Semmens.

Not only was the union billing taxpayers for union work, that $1 million in taxpayer cash each year freed up cash the union could use to elect politicians who would do the union’s bidding.

The ruling is a blow for government unions who, using taxpayer cash, are the single biggest campaign financier in America.

Government unions contributed $1.1 billion to pro-union candidates from 2005 through 2011, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Labor Department documents reveal government unions spent $3.3 billion over the same period on political activity, outside of direct donations, intended to elect pro-union candidates.

That’s $4.4 billion taken from your pockets and funneled through union bosses to elect politicians who will give them even more of your money.