Top Of My Head

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Tag: Wisconsin Budget

The Morning After – Totally Embarrassed!

Governor Walker and the Senate Republicans have completely embarrassed my wonderful state by making this end run.  It wasn’t about balancing the budget.  Walker doesn’t care about working people – that’s what state employees are – working people who – when compared to private workers in similar jobs earn much less for the same education and experience.

As far as paying for their pensions, they all ready do – the pension money comes from deferred pay.  Is Walker set to give them the deferred pay upfront?  I’m betting not.

And, he’s taken away (according to the original bill) the right of state workers to protest “who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the of operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls.”

And, I harp on this A LOT, but I don’t want my state giving away our energy assets without any bidding involved.  And, yet, there my state government goes…

My Republican mother brought this up the other day when we were discussing the elimination of state workers’ rights.  Maybe, you’ve heard it before:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

– Pastor Martin Niemoller

For those people who have no problem negotiating downward, think about this: Whose rights do you think Walker’s coming for next? What does his buddy, David Koch, want now? He’ll get our energy assets and then he’ll be allowed to underpay workers and Walker will see to it that workers have no rights.

When I discuss this matter with people who disagree with me, they all just don’t get it. They don’t see how wages have stagnated in this country for the last thirty years. How deregulation has directly lead to the current bad economy. It’s like they’ve never read a history book or knew about the early unionists who had to fight for decent wages, working conditions and a forty hour work week. It’s like they’ve never had a bad job, where the employer expected more and more and gave less and less.

Gave is probably the wrong word. Your employer and my employer do not “give” us anything. We earn it. I love my job and I love the place where I work, but I haven’t always been so lucky to work for a company where my work is appreciated. My last company could’ve used a union. They “gave” a 1.1% raise – a total insult – and then expected 90 hour work weeks (I’m salary, that means no overtime) – AND, for further insult to injury, because of the bad economy one Vice President actually said that we (the team I was on) were “lucky to have jobs”.

That’s how non-union shops treat people, like cattle and not with any decency or respect.

That’s what’s on the line with Walker. He wants to roll back the times and make our state one where you can see the clear lines of the haves and have nots. And, all of the haves will have contributed to his campaign.  If you think for one moment that Governor Walker is on the side of the hardworking people of this state, you are fooling yourself.

One last item:  Where are the jobs Walker religiously promised during the campaign?  I haven’t seen one thing in this budget that will create one job.

Can you say RECALL, boys and girls?

Walker’s Budget – Bad for Wisconsin

Even if Walker’s budget didn’t include the restricting of rights for our fellow citizens, it would still be bad for Wisconsin.  I applaud our Democratic lawmakers who have stood firm in their joint refusal to return home.  They are true PATROITS, who do not want our state sold to the lowest bidder, as Walker and the rest of the Republicans want.

Let’s look at the Senate bill, shall we?

Right there on Page 6 is this paragraph:

“Currently, this state owns and operates numerous heating, cooling, and power plants that were constructed by the state to provide heating, cooling, and power to
state facilities. The Department of Administration (DOA) determines the method of operation of these plants and may delegate this authority to any other state agency that has managing authority for a plant. This bill permits DOA to sell or contract for the operation of any such plant. The bill exempts such sales and contracts from the requirement for approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that may otherwise apply under current law. The bill provides that the net proceeds
of any sale, after retirement of any outstanding state debt and any necessary repayment of federal financial assistance, is deposited in the budget stabilization fund. The bill also allows DOA, at any time, to petition the PSC to regulate as a public utility any person who purchases or contracts for the operation of any plant under the bill. Under current law, the PSC has regulatory authority over public utilities, including the authority to set rates for utility service.”

Now, take a look at this section (Page 26).

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).(emphasis mine)

Right there, Walker is giving away our state. It doesn’t mention how much money our “numerous heating, cooling, and power plants” might bring into the state. It doesn’t say how much money the state will make off the sale. And, if we sell off the plants, won’t that mean the state will then have to pay for the privilege of using plants we paid to build and maintain?

And, let’s think who is going to benefit from this no-bid, no approval sale?  Could it be Koch Industries – Walker’s second highest campaign contributor?  You watch – bill passes, Koch moves in – state loses.

What’s next?  Oh, yes,  he wants to take away state employees’ rights to protest the state government.  Take a look, it is on page 5.

“Under current law, the governor may declare a state of emergency if he or she determines that an emergency exists resulting from a disaster or the imminent threat of a disaster. This bill authorizes a state agency to discharge any state employee who fails to report to work as scheduled for any three unexcused working days during a state of emergency or who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the of operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls. Under the bill, engaging in any of these actions constitutes just cause for discharge.” (emphasis mine)

I don’t have a problem with demanding employees to show up for work during a state emergency, but saying that they will be fired if they strike? That’s going too far. We don’t allow private companies to fire striking employees and public employees deserve the same rights as the rest of us.

I want to digress from going over the bill for a moment and point something out.  Someone I know keeps harping on Wisconsin teachers and how they need more competition, etc.  I would like to point out that indeed Wisconsin teachers’ salaries are in the top 50% of the nation.  I would, also, like to point out that so are our children’s test scores.  We pay our teachers more than 50% of the nation and in return we have students who test in the upper 50%.  For what more could you ask?

Then there is the Assembly bill, which has all ready passed.  That’s where Walker takes away the funding for family planning.  In other words, even if you’re poor, you don’t get birth control pills.

Under current law, DHS provides funding for family planning services, including maintaining a state plan for community−based family planning programs and specific annual grants. This bill eliminates this family planning services funding.

(emphasis mine)

According to the Huffington Post, this will save the state a whole 1.9 million dollars a year.  Has Walker thought about how much having unwanted babies will cost the state per year?  They’ll need childcare, food (more money from WIC) and educations.  According to BabyCenter‘s calculator, the total cost of raising a child in the Midwest from 0 to 18 is $243,068. I don’t know how much of that will be paid by Wisconsin taxpayers, but I’m sure some of it will. How about we don’t have the mother become pregnant in the first place? I’m sure we can find other ways of saving 1.9 million. We could always make Walker pay for his own residence and not maintain the governor’s mansion for him. According to State Sen. Bob Wirch (quoted on PolitiFact), it costs one million dollars over a four year term. If Walker paid his own way, we could save $250,000 per year. It would at least be a start.

If this isn’t enough to convince you that Walker and his budget is bad for Wisconsin, well, I just don’t know what else to say.  There are more items, but I’m not done reading the thousand plus pages of the budget.

So, as I’ve said before and I’ll say again, Let’s RECALL Walker!

Walker Punked…

Scott Walker says he won’t talk to anyone, but he will take a phone call from “David Koch” co-owner of the Koch Industries I mentioned here yesterday.  He was punked by Ian Murphy (from Buffalo Beast) who was posing as Koch.

Walker thinks he has this in the bag.  He’s even planning on stopping the Democrats direct deposit pay in order to get them to come home.

Check out the video at Crooks and Liars.  When I find the link to the actual video by Buffalo Beast, I’ll post a link to it.

Walker sure does sound like he’s in Koch’s pocket.  Something I alluded to in yesterday’s post.

I say we recall him and all of the Republicants.

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