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Week in Review: The Fight Over Paying Teachers NOT to Teach

January 9, 2021

Teachers in New Jersey are paid NOT to teach under a practice known as “release time,” which benefits private teachers unions at the expense of taxpayers. The Goldwater Institute is challenging the unconstitutional practice in a lawsuit that is pending before the New Jersey Supreme Court. This week, the case made national headlines in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox Business.

Under release time, taxpayers in states, cities, and school districts across the country are paying public employees to work exclusively for their private unions, instead of doing the jobs they were hired to do. The Goldwater Institute has brought challenges to release time under state constitution “gift clauses” or “anti-aid clauses” in ArizonaTexas, and New Jersey

The Goldwater Institute—on behalf of and representing taxpayers—filed a case challenging a collective bargaining agreement in Jersey City which required a school district to pay the salaries of two full-time teachers who did not spend their time educating children, but instead performed full-time union work. The case came before the state Supreme Court in October 2020, and we are currently awaiting the court’s ruling.

You can watch the story on Fox Business here and read an excerpt of a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Goldwater Director of National Litigation Jon Riches and attorney Justin Meyers, co-counsel in the Goldwater Institute’s New Jersey case here.

An Epic IRS Fail

We’re from the government and we’re here to help? Maybe not so much: With millions of Americans suffering from the impacts of COVID-related lockdowns, now they’re suffering from government inefficiency as they wait for long-delayed checks from the Internal Revenue Service.

In late December, Congress passed legislation that included payments of $600 to individuals, $1,200 to couples, and another $600 per child, provided recipients meet income eligibility requirements. But as the IRS acknowledged, it mistakenly sent millions of those payments to closed or inactive accounts. Will Americans receive their promised payments? Quoth the IRS: “Maybe.

As Goldwater Institute Communications Director Mike Brownfield writes at In Defense of Liberty, this is “a painful reminder of government incompetence—and it should be a cautionary warning against expanding the IRS’s role to that of tax preparer, collector, and auditor, as some have advocated.” You can read the full blog post here.

Shutting Down California’s Shutdowns

Just before the start of the new year, the Goldwater Institute joined with officials from San Bernardino County, California, to urge that state’s Supreme Court to hear a case challenging the legality of Governor Gavin Newsom’s most recent stay-at-home order.

After Gov. Newsom first issued a stay-at-home order in March 2020, that order is now on its third extension, and it has mandated that countless businesses, schools, and churches be closed in the nation’s most populous state. In mid-December, San Bernardino County filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court, asking the justices to invalidate the orders. Now, with the assistance of American Freedom Network Attorney Scott Street, the Goldwater Institute has gotten involved: We sent an amicus curiae letter to the court, noting that California’s executive has exercised unprecedented and extraordinary powers to regulate private conduct across the state—and to do so into the indefinite future.

Read more from Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches at In Defense of Liberty.

TUESDAY: Fireside Chat with Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster

What foreign policy and national security concerns lie ahead for the United States in 2021 and beyond?

Please join the Goldwater Institute and friends on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. Arizona time (1:30 p.m. EST), for a virtual fireside chat with retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. The discussion will focus on General McMaster’s new book, Battlegrounds, and the national security challenges the United States faces in the coming years.

You can register for this special event here.



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