Unions Looking For Puppet

When it comes to the recall attempt of Governor Scott Walker, unions are looking for a candidate to be their puppet.  And they appear to have found one.

Union leaders are asking Democratic candidates for governor to veto the next state budget if it doesn’t restore collective bargaining for public workers and one leading candidate – Kathleen Falk – has agreed, participants in the private meetings say.

The plan, which could lead to shortages or even layoffs in government if it doesn’t succeed, is a key strategy that union leaders are considering for undoing Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal last year of most collective bargaining for public employees. Falk, the former Dane County executive, has committed to restoring collective bargaining in the next state budget and vetoing the budget if those provisions come out, while at least three other candidates including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said they wouldn’t commit to any one strategy to accomplish that.

“The governor’s job is to veto budget items that don’t reflect citizens’ values. That’s why a million people signed recall petitions – because Scott Walker’s budgets didn’t reflect citizens’ values,” Falk spokesman Scot Ross said. “All the support she’ll receive is because she the best candidate to take on Gov. Walker’s divisive, extreme, national tea party agenda and bring Wisconsin back together.”

Unions helped launch the recall effort against Walker in November in response to Walker’s labor legislation, and the state teachers union on Wednesday endorsed Falk in that looming contest. All the potential Democratic challengers to Walker support restoring collective bargaining, but they don’t all agree on how to make that happen.

Smells like pay-to-play.

The union request and Falk’s commitment brought withering criticism from Republicans, who said the move would be bad for the state and wouldn’t succeed with the GOP-controlled Legislature.

“This backroom deal reeks of pay-to-play,” state Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks said.

What’s amazing is that a candidate would publicly commit to such a request.  It’s one that other Democrats said no to.

In an interview Wednesday, Barrett said that when he spoke with unions he told them that he would call a special session to seek the restoration of collective bargaining. If that didn’t work, Barrett said he would look at other means of accomplishing that goal but he stopped short of committing to veto the state budget over collective bargaining.

“My position has always been legislatively that I don’t rule anything out and I don’t rule anything in,” Barrett said.

“I said I could not make that promise and I did not think any serious candidate for governor could or should make that commitment,” Cullen said of a veto of the state budget. “It’s a $60 billion document.”

Vinehout said that she would seek to sell the state public on the importance of restoring collective bargaining rather than attempt to force it through the Legislature in a budget standoff.

“The answer to that was that was I would do my very best to avoid a situation where we have brinkmanship,” Vinehout said.

Unfortunately public sector unions like WEAC and WSEU don’t care what happens to Wisconsin as long as like spoiled children they get what they want.

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Stunning Successes of Governor Walker

Spot on.

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.

 

 

 

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Act 10 Success Diminishes Recall Effort

An accurate assessment of the recall picture.

As communities continue to provide Act 10 success stories, the efforts of recall organizers against Governor Walker become more difficult. And with tax bills arriving soon, the positive results for Wisconsin taxpayers will make those recall efforts even more ominous.

Governor Walker’s reforms have produced some stunning results, turning a budget around that was structurally unsound. School districts and communities throughout the state are in much better financial shape due to the moves undertaken by the Walker administration. The following results were tabulated by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, based on responses from over 83% of all school districts:

  • New teacher hires outnumber layoffs by 1213 positions
  • 75% of districts maintained or decreased class sizes for K-3
  • 67% of districts maintained or decreased class sizes for 4-6
  • 92% of districts kept or expanded sports programs
  • 89% of districts kept or expanded technology support staff
  • 85% or more kept or increased their guidance, social work, and psychology staff
  • 90% of districts kept or expanded gifted and talented staff
  • 96% of districts kept or expanded early childhood staff
  • 96% of districts kept or expanded AP sections and courses
  • 82% of districts kept or expanded vocational/technical programs
  • 82% of districts kept or expanded art programs
  • 84% of districts kept or expanded music programs
  • 87% of districts kept or expanded foreign language programs

Even more telling though were the results from three districts from Southern Wisconsin that didn’t implement the reform tools.

The most telling results of the WASDA survey came from responses by the Milwaukee, Kenosha and Janesville districts. Those districts accounted for 68% of all teacher layoffs in the state, yet only represent 12.8% of Wisconsin students. These three districts did not adopt the reforms put in place by Governor Walker and Act 10, and were not able to utilize the tools offered to control costs.

So when you see the ads put out by recall organizers, liberal 3rd party groups and public sector unions keep in mind their “information” to support their claims comes from districts that didn’t utilize the tools offered via Act 10.

As pointed out, the whole picture isn’t presented:

If they were honest, they would discuss how 51% of districts reduced extracurricular programs in 2004 (according to WEAC), before Act 10 tools were available. Or the fact that over the past five years, the property tax levy has increased by an average of $181 million per year. Not so this year, as the K-12 school tax levy will actually decrease by $47 million.

Be sure to point out these successes when you encounter those pushing to recall Governor Scott Walker.  In any discussion about the direction of Wisconsin point out not only how Act 10 has been a success, point out as well the results being seen where the tools offered weren’t implemented.

 

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Madison Schools Facing $12.4 Million Deficit

Stark reality for the Madison School District for next school year.

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.

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