Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pro voucher business bullies

Just when it seems that the pro-voucher groups tactics can't sink any lower, they all surprise me again.

You recall when the legislative leaders who rammed the school voucher law through the Utah House (by one vote) and the Senate called in the lobbyists to strong-arm them into putting up cash and votes for the failing voucher referendum?

And then legislative leaders threatened to hold up a United Way and business leaders health care plan unless these folks also got on board with vouchers?

Well, now those business leaders appear to have succumbed to the bullying and intimidation and blackmail.

Worse yet, it appears they are, in turn, being asked to bully and intimidate THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES to vote for vouchers.

Read this from the Salt Lake City Tribune, just posted online here:

"A group of prominent Utah business leaders is campaigning for vouchers by sending pro-voucher letters to employees.

"The group Business Leaders for Referendum 1 has been sending an e-mail to business leaders encouraging them to tell their employees about projected enrollment increases and how Referendum 1 could help. According to the letter, voting in favor of Referendum 1 could help the state avoid overcrowded classes and tax increases as a result of a projected enrollment increase over the next 10 years.

"Time is short and we must help voters understand these issues," the letter says. "We are asking you to tell your employees about this aspect of the debate and encourage them to carefully consider the economic impact of their decision."

"The letter also includes a draft of another letter for employers to distribute to their employees. That letter states: "As your employer, it is not my intent to tell you how you should vote. However; as I listen to the debate being waged on the airwaves, I am deeply concerned that one of the most important considerations is not being discussed." Business leaders who signed their names to the letter include: Fred Lampropoulous, CEO, Merit Medical; Keith Rattie, chairman and CEO, Questar Corp.; Patrick Byrne, CEO, Overstock.com; Thomas E. Bingham, president, Utah Manufacturers Association; Howard M. Headlee, president, Utah Bankers Association; James V. Olsen, president, Utah Food Industry Association; L. Tasman Biesinger, executive vice president, Utah Home Builders Association; M. Royce VanTassell, vice president, Utah Taxpayers Association; Chris Kyler, Utah Association of Realtors; Candace Daly, National Federation of Independent Business; Lee J. Peacock, executive director, Utah Petroleum Association; David A. Litvin, President, Utah Mining Association."

These same "business leaders" - or rather "business bullies" - also have a brand new website. You can check it out here and get the same lies and half-truths and exaggerations that PCE has been trying to get Utahns to swallow. (I certainly will be watching to make sure they file a report with the Lt. Governor for these expenditures -- all of them.)

A campaign is one thing. But bullying your own employees?


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