Did Governor Walker Orchestrate Wisconsin’s Budget Shortfall?
Jonathan Williams, director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which represents conservative state lawmakers, and Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, discussed the Wisconsin budget and union issues from very different perspectives on the PBS New Hour.
Weingarten said the Wisconsin budget crisis was primarily caused by Governor Walker’s millions of dollars of tax breaks for businesses passed by the Republican legislature in January 2011. Prior to these tax breaks initiated by Walker the Wisconsin Budget office said there was an expected $127 million dollar surplus for 2011. However, the unexpected special interest spending bill in January 2011 wiped out any possible budget surplus forecasted by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The budget crisis seems to be manufactured or at least exacerbated by the Wisconsin GOP Governor and Republican legislature. Is it a replica on the state level of what G. W. Bush did when he came into office in 2001 when he and the Republican Congress passed tax cuts which wiped out the Trillions of dollars in surplus estimated over 10 years inherited from President William Clinton’s administration?
The One Wisconsin Now blog indicated that Governor Walker created the fiscal deficit with a “scheme to pay for $140 million in special interest spending”. The Wisconsin Republican tax breaks which created a fiscal crisis are being used as an excuse by GOP Governor Walker to destroy the teachers unions in Wisconsin.
Governor Walker Failed to Meet with Union Leaders to Hear their $100 million concessions
When interviewed on PBS NewsHour Randi Weingarten said that Governor Walker refused to dialogue with Union representatives even though they had proposed $100 million in concessions prior to demonstrations from the Unions.
Jonathan Williams from ALEC claimed that Governor Walker “values” and “wants to protect” teachers. Weingarten said if Governor Walker was really concerned about protecting teachers, then he would be willing to negotiate directly with them. Weingarten said the unions wanted to work together with the Governor to help solve Wisconsin’s financial challenges. However, the workers were not willing to completely give up their rights to collective economic bargaining.
The current protests in Wisconsin are a result of the GOP using governorships to wield mean-spirited political power to undermine Unions.
Is the GOP deliberately targeting Unions as their newest enemy to take down before the 2012 election? Many worker’s unions support the Democratic party in elections. The attacks on organized labor smell of systematic partisan dirty tricks.
According to the article “Walker gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies”:
“In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.
To the extent that there is an imbalance — Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit — it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes — or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues — the “crisis” would not exist.
The Fiscal Bureau memo — which readers can access at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Misc/2011_01_31Vos&Darling.pdf— makes it clear that Walker did not inherit a budget that required a repair bill.”
Governor Scott Walker is not calling for changes in the unions for his supporters – firefighters, police and State Troopers. Why is he picking on teachers, nurses and other public employees and yet not touching the Unions that supported his campaign?
According to the AP article, “Some question if Gov. Walker’s plan is “political payback”:
Walker has introduced a bill that would strip public employees across the board — from teachers to snowplow drivers — of their right to collectively bargain for sick leave, vacation, even the hours they work. But absolutely nothing would change for local police, fire departments and the State Patrol.
The bill smacks of political favoritism for public safety unions that supported Walker’s election bid last year and sets up new haves and have-nots in Wisconsin government, said Paul Secunda, a Marquette University professor who specializes in labor law.
“That’s called ‘thank you, I got your back,'” Secunda said. “There’s no surprise there. This is the worst type of favoritism there could be.”
Dirty Politics towards 2012
Republicans said they would focus on jobs, yet Governor Walker is doing everything he can to undermine workers in his state. It’s pretty bad when the Governor of a state plays politics routlette with pensions and wages of workers.
It is very interesting how newly elected Republican Governors from:
- Florida (Gov. Rick Scott),
- Ohio (Gov. John Kasich),
- Wisconsin (Gov. Scott Walker),
- Idaho (Gov. C. L. Otter),
- New Jersey (Gov. Chris Christie) and
- Nevada (Gov. Brian Sandoval)
all seem to have the same idea to undermine job security of teachers and bust Unions.
Dirty Dirty politics. With Citizens United, the big money is in the room together with the republican Roberts Court that overturned 103 years of settled law to enable big money to have the biggest free speech.
The Little Men Behind the Money Curtain
Karl Rove and Crossroads GPS are going after mega-billions for the Republican party. Rove is attempting to gather big spenders for the 2012 election.
A Toxic Combination
Big Money + Manipulative Fox News wielding its own reality creation, inc. = Potentially Horribly Confused and Misinformed Voters
This article showed that large corporate funders gave money to various Republican governors in their elections and for their Inaugural Balls.
Are Republican Governors like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker now playing the tune of the pied pipers that footed their bills?
The outcry from hard-working people coming together to protest the nasty political grandstanding tactics of Governor Walker shows that Americans are willing to stand up for their human rights against bullies.