February 18, 2011

Wisconscious

In an attempt to get the massive costs associated with public sector unions under control, the Wisconsin state legislature is prepared to end the practice of collective bargaining for public workers. The legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage.
Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.
In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Gov. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass. The moves are part of the state's efforts to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.
Democratic members of the Wisconsin state legislatures reacted to doing what they do best - fleeing the capitol, reneging on their responsibility to all of the people of the state, while placating members of the state's public sector unions who had descended on Madison.

In New York, we're facing a $10 billion deficit. The governor is proposing cuts that make the Wisconsin legislature's actions seem trivial. If you think things are rowdy in WI, you ain't seen nothing yet. The unions will be out in full force to protect everything they have - taxpayers be damned. We can only hope that Cuomo, the Assembly and the Senate have the will of Wisconsin's governor and legislature.

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