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Apr 26

How Collective Bargaining Affects State and Local Government Finances

~ Research Release ~ 

Americans must file their tax returns by April 15. Their state and local government tax bills will vary considerably. For Virginians the average cost of these taxes is $4,500 per capita; yet neighboring Marylanders average $5,600 per capita. New research from The Heritage Foundation and the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) quantifies a major factor increasing spending and taxes in some states, but not others. Many states give government unions collective bargaining powers, allow union members to strike, or call an arbitrator to impose terms. Other states make collective bargaining optional or prohibit it altogether. Analyzing over five decades of data, Heritage and NPRI examined how these collective bargaining powers affect state payrolls, employment and finances. Among their findings: mandatory collective bargaining increases total state and local government spending between $600 and $750 per capita, and if government collective bargaining were voluntary nationwide state and local governments would have spent between $127 and $164 billion less in 2014. Join us for a discussion of these and other findings, their implications for taxpayers, and the collective bargaining reforms that could significantly reduce costs at the state and local government level.

More About the Speakers

Geoffrey Lawrence
Assistant State Controller of Nevada and former Director of Research, Nevada Policy Research Institute

Ben Wilterdink
Director of the Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force, American Legislative Exchange Council

Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D.
Senior Statistician and Research Programmer, The Heritage Foundation

Hosted By

James Sherk James Sherk

Research Fellow, Labor Economics Read More