February 19, 2011
If you've been living under a rock, you may not be aware of the impending doom going on in Wisconsin right now. Governor Walker, a newly elected Republican, is trying to correct a $131 million budget deficit by having teachers and other public employees pay more toward their own health insurance (12%) and their retirement/pension (5%). But that's not what the protests are about.
The protests are because Governor Walker also has language in this bill that strips unions of their collective bargaining rights with the exception of cost-of-living wage adjustments. How would this provision help the budget? It doesn't. It is simply an attack on unions -- a blatant attempt to bust the unions. For now, firefighters and police are exempt from these changes, but if the law passes, then it will only be a matter of time before they are affected too.
Wisconsin is a stronghold of unions and has been instrumental in union rights for 50 years. I understand why the Democratic senators left the state to prevent quorum from being reached and the Senate from passing the bill. [Both the Wisconsin House of Reps and the Senate are Republican controlled.] And kudos to the state troopers who "can't find" the few dissenters.
All these extreme measures deemed necessary to balance the budget didn't seem to factor in when Governor Walker passed $200 million worth of tax cuts for the rich. Hmm ....
Walker rejects union offer to accept concessions
Rachel Maddow says WI is on track to have a budget surplus this year
Local business community may be starting to turn against WI Governor Walker