Gov. Walker has been in the middle of one of the most controversial political events in our country with his fight against Unions. Despite fierce opposition from the Unions, he has created jobs, He passed a state budget with NO tax increases. Turned a $3 billion deficit into a $300 million surplus. One of my personal favorites, he instituted the first permanent property tax cap in his state’s history. He enacted sweeping business tax reforms that will save Wisconsin’s job creators over $130 million a year when fully implemented. I LOVE that he protected votes by requiring a picture I.D at the polls. He expanded school choice. He paid back the $200 million from Gov Doyle’s unconstitutional raid of the Patients Compensation Fund. He followed Texas by passing the Castle Doctrine that expands protections for homeowners and passed Concealed Carry.
As a result, unemployment is down and Wisconsin has added 40,000 jobs showing job growth more than twice the national rate.
The proof is in the pudding. This is what happens when states enact common sense conservative measures. Gov. Walker took on a tough opponent who threw everything they had at him. I really admire how he handled it, and how he came out on top.
This is the type of message conservatives across Wisconsin need to convey to battle the misinformation of the liberals and unions.
Superintendent Dan Nerad won’t make his preliminary budget recommendations until April 1, but in its first look at the 2012-13 school budget, the district is projecting a $12.4 million deficit based on current budget trends.
Factoring in rising insurance and fuel costs, the district projects general fund spending of $319.7 million, up from $310.9 million this year. Revenues are projected to be $307.3 million.
The district is looking at several options to close the gap, such as eliminating its most expensive health insurance option, renegotiating nonunion employee contracts, energy efficiency projects, refinancing debt and raising property taxes, said Erik Kass, assistant superintendent for business services.
But the district doesn’t want to do what other districts around the state have done – have employees contribute more to their health insurance premiums.
One way Madison expects to close its $12.4 million deficit this year is to eliminate Wisconsin Physicians Service as an insurance provider, which would save about $5 million. Madison Teachers Inc. agreed to that option as part of the current contract.
The union also agreed to pay up to 15 percent of the premium for the other three insurance options, Group Health Cooperative, Dean and Physicians Plus. But Madison didn’t exercise that option last year and might not have to this year, Kass said.
The 15 percent contribution would generate up to $7.5 million in savings, but would cost teachers up to about $900 for a single plan and $2,700 for a family plan. Most other districts around the state had employees pay more toward premiums last year.
MTI executive director John Matthews said an average teacher is already losing about $2,600 in take-home pay because of the pension contribution. Not having to contribute to health insurance premiums would be “a huge relief.”
“Many employees were forced to reduce their standard of living, many are having financial problems, some unable to afford college tuition and some are unable to qualify for mortgage to enable home purchase,” Matthews wrote in an email.
School Board President James Howard said asking employees to contribute more than what they do now would be a “double whammy” because they also are affected by property tax increases. But the board may look at ways to spread out the budget’s impact.
Why can’t employees in the Madison school district do what private sector employees have been doing during the current economic downturn? Why should they not have to make adjustments in their standard of living and pay more?
Instead the Madison Metropolitan School District thinks it is better to raise taxes to cover the shortfall. To not exercise options that the union agreed to is absurd. But then again it was also absurd to agree to new contracts with the unions last year before Act 10 became law.
“I am deeply disappointed in this President’s abdication of leadership when it comes to prioritizing Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. The decision to delay the release of his budget again could not come at a more precarious moment for our fiscal and economic future. This will mark the third time in four years the President has missed his statutory requirement to present a budget on time, while trillion-dollar budget deficits continue to mount. As the President announces another missed deadline, tomorrow marks the 1,000th day Senate Democrats have gone without any budget at all.
“Having buried Americans under trillions of dollars of debt, the President and his party’s leaders remain unwilling to account for their spending spree. The lack of credible budget plans from the President and his party’s leaders raises the question: What are they hiding? Given their refusal to advance serious spending restraints and reforms, the President seems unwilling to specify the extent of the job-destroying tax increases and disruptive health-care rationing required to make a dent in his borrowing binge. The merciless math of Washington’s current fiscal trajectory requires tough decisions and principled leadership, which leaders are supposed to offer in the form of budgets. Rather than tackle these challenges head-on, this President continues to punt, while his party’s leaders in the Senate have simply abandoned responsible budgeting altogether.
“While the President’s failures delay the Fiscal Year 2013 budget process, House Republicans remain committed to advancing solutions that get American back on track. We deserve better than a President unwilling to meet his legal and moral obligation to tackle our nation’s most pressing challenges. We deserve better than the President’s path to debt, doubt and decline.”
President Obama should be ashamed, as should all the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, of the continued failure to pass a budget. There should be extreme disappointment that not one of them wants to be held accountable.