Public employees must help rein in costs

Excellent editorial from the Washington Post.

COLLECTIVE bargaining rights for public employees are at the heart of the political battle raging in Wisconsin. But in economic and fiscal terms, abolishing contract negotiations between unions and management is not necessarily a panacea for state and local governments – or a nightmare for their workers. Consider Virginia, which bans collective bargaining and always has. Like pension systems in states friendlier to unions, the commonwealth’s public employee retirement system is underfunded by $17.6 billion. At the same time, teachers in Virginia have slightly higher average salaries than their unionized brethren in Wisconsin, and over the past decade, Old Dominion teacher pay grew a tad faster than teacher pay in the Badger State.

The point is that, whatever happens in Wisconsin, states and local governments across the country are faced with chronic fiscal problems rooted partly in unsustainable employee compensation systems. One way or another, they will have to be addressed, and there is only so much that can be achieved through raising revenue, since many of the most troubled states – California, New York and New Jersey – are already high-tax jurisdictions. Much of the issue is rooted in health-care costs, especially benefits for public-sector retirees.

The obvious solution is to rein in these costs by doing something like ask employees in the public sector to pay more towards these benefits.  The union response:

this would be unfair to them, since they gave up wage increases in many cases to retain health benefits. It’s in the public interest, as well as a matter of fairness, to ensure that public employees receive reasonable compensation, so that well-qualified people want to become and remain teachers, police officers and bureaucrats.

As the Washington Post points out,

If the government-employee union movement wants to retain public sympathy and support, it must show definitively that it understands why so many people who are not Tea Party Republicans nevertheless worry about the cost of state and local pay and benefits. After all, Democratic officials – from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – have also targeted unsustainable personnel costs. No one should demonize public employees, who by and large are as hardworking as their private-sector counterparts. But efforts to rein in unaffordable public-sector compensation are not necessarily an attack on workers and their rights.

Says something when the Washington Post weighs in AGAINST the union argument.

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About That Test Scores Argument

One of the pieces of information that opponents of Governor Walker’s budget repair bill are spreading around deals with ACT/SAT test scores.  The information tends to be as follows:

Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:

South Carolina -50th
North Carolina -49th
Georgia -48th
Texas -47th
Virginia -44th

What isn’t provided is the source of this information.  There’s a reason for that and it lies in the fact that the information on test scores is from 1999!
Here is a link to the data being utilized along with a link to the main page.
Perhaps the opponents need an update when it comes to test scores.
According to the ACT website here are the states with the lowest test scores.
50. Mississippi
49. Florida
48. Kentucky
47. Tennessee
46. Michigan
And from the Commonwealth Foundation is state rankings for SAT scores:
50. Maine
49. South Carolina
48. Georgia
47. Hawaii
46. New York
In other words no correlation between test scores and collective bargaining rights of educators.
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Call for Congress to subpoena ICE records on releasing illegals

Logo of ICE
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As a Bolivian native faces charges for killing a nun while drunk driving, a Virginia official is calling on Congress to subpoena Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to find out how many criminal illegal immigrants referred for deportation are released back into the communities where they were picked up.Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County, Va., board of supervisors, said his county’s police referred Carlos Martinelly Montano for deportation twice in the past after he served sentences for drunk driving convictions. But immigration officials released Montano, who allegedly killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns in the Aug. 1 accident, on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing.

“Regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, or on this issue, we can all agree that if you are an illegal alien and you’ve committed a crime, that you should be deported afterward,” Stewart told Fox News on Friday. “But this guy had been twice handed over to immigration officials and twice released back into the community even though there was an immigration detainer on him. And of course he’s gone right back out and committed the same crime and killed a nun.”

Stewart accused the Obama administration of a policy of “deliberately underfunding and understaffing immigration enforcement” so that officials are left without detention facilities to place illegal aliens who are awaiting deportation after serving time for criminal convictions.

“I want the Obama administration to come clean with the American people about its policy of releasing illegal aliens who localities and other law enforcement officials have identified as illegal aliens who have committed crimes, and the Obama administration is simply turning around and releasing these dangerous individuals back into neighborhoods,” Stewart said. (Source: Fox News)

Just how many illegals are released by ICE? Why aren’t they all deported?

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14 weeks

Poweful video put out by the Republican Governors Association

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