Wisconsin Governor Takes on Unions to Solve Budget

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is squarely taking on the unions to help fix his state’s budget problems (h/t).

Elements of Walker’s proposal include state employee wage increases limited to the rate of inflation unless approved in a voter referendum. State workers — other than police, fire, and inspectors — would lose many bargaining rights and could opt out of paying union dues after current contracts expire, with dues no longer collected automatically.
State workers will have to raise the amount they contribute to their pensions to 5.8 percent of salary, and double their contribution to health insurance premiums to 12.6 percent of salary. Wisconsin’s unfunded pension liability is $252.6 million, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

People aren’t happy:

The proposal drew outrage from labor unions and Democrats in the state, which has a $137 million budget deficit in the fiscal year ending June 30 and larger deficits to come.
“If Republicans get their way, workers will no longer be able to negotiate over the hours they work, the safety conditions they labor under or the health insurance and retirement benefits they and their families depend on,” Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller said in a statement.

Republicans–who control the state legislature–anticipate a tough road but think they have no other real options.

“We are out of money and the options are few. We can either raise taxes — which is absolutely off the table — reduce spending or lay off workers,” Jeff Fitzgerald, the Republican Speaker of the State Assembly, told local radio.
“I expect the Capitol to explode” with protests, Fitzgerald said. “It’s going to be a very difficult week.”

Nonetheless, it is expected that the Governor’s plan will pass.

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bella
bella
10 years ago

So do his plans to use the Wisconsin National Guard to enforce this include recalling Guard units from Iraq and Afghanistan? I feel sorry for Wisconsin’s sons and daughters who signed on to defend America, only to be deployed as Pinkertons.
Hosni Mubarak is alive and well in exile, running the state of Wisconsin.

Bill
Bill
10 years ago

How refreshing! How did RI’s wheels come so far off that by comparison Wisconsin sounds like it is from an earlier (and far more sensible) era?

Bob
Bob
10 years ago

The tide’s a’ turning against the unions. Hold onto the side of the boat because it’s gonna get rocky.

michael
michael
10 years ago

The tide’s a’ turning against everybody, Bob. If “the unions” crumble, guess who’s next?
Sleep tight, we’ll hold the line.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
10 years ago

michael, you need to understand that we don’t dislike you personally. We absolutely hate your unions because they are screwing the taxpayers.
Imagine that you have a leaky roof and you need to hire somebody to roof your house. Someone shows up and tells you the price and the conditions. You tell them it is too much. They tell you that is the price and they’ll do it under their conditions. And if you don’t like it, it you don’t get the roof fixed.
You say to yourself, who is the customer here?
That’s where we are.
You work for us michael, not the other way around. We’ll tell you what we can afford and how we want it done.
Unfortunately, unions have perverted this entire process.
That’s why we hate your unions. It’s very simple and logical.
Unions do NOTHING for the taxpayers. They do everything for you.
It’s not about you, michael, it’s about what is good for the taxpayers.

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