Walker proposed reducing spending by $30 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year by making changes to public employee benefits programs. The changes include making state, school district and municipal employees pay half of the annual contributions to their pension programs through the Wisconsin Retirement Systems. He also proposed increasing employee health insurance premium payments from 6 percent to 12.6 percent.He has also pledged not to lay anyone off if the bill passes, but if it doesn't he'll have to lay off up to 6000 state employees. There are not enough Democrats in the Wisconsin senate to stop passage so they took a bus to Illinois where they're staying (at taxpayer expense?) at a Best Western. This prevents the GOP-dominated senate from reaching the quorum needed to conduct business. It strikes me as a little futile, and a waste of taxpayer money. After all, they aren't being paid by the taxpayers to hole up in a hotel in Illinois. Nor are they being paid to run from the state's budget crisis.
Walker also recommended tighter controls on collective bargaining with unions representing state employees. He wants to require a voter referendum for any new contract that would increase wages at a faster pace than the consumer price index inflation rate. He recommended limiting terms of state worker contracts to one year and to require annual votes by state employees over whether to remain part of a union. The bargaining limits would not affect state troopers, building inspectors and local law-enforcement and fire employees.
University of Wisconsin employees, on the other hand, would be prevented from participating in collective bargaining.
The state could save $165 million in the current fiscal year by deferring payments on existing debt to future years, according to Walker’s budget.
Walker’s proposal also would order the Department of Health Services to revise state Medicaid programs to help reduce a $153 million gap between fiscal year 2011 costs and money earmarked to pay for the program. Walker also plans to increase the amount of state money dedicated to pay for Medicaid.
Anyway, the Governor wants to make it more difficult for public employees to extort the taxpayers which has roused a thousand or more Wisconsin teachers to call in sick (a violation of professional ethics) to march on Madison in an ugly protest. Left-wing protests, as we've come to learn over the years, are often ugly. The video below is pretty funny, though, juxtaposing as it does the buffoonish allegations by liberals about the source of hate-filled rhetoric in this country with video of the signs carried by some of the Madison protestors: And just think, these are the people who are teaching our children. If it weren't for the fact that I knew so many wonderful, selfless, dedicated teachers in my 35 year career in public education this demonstration would make me ashamed to be numbered among them.