Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wisconsin Democrats give the public employees one last chance to squeeze the taxpayers

Politicians are giving the public employees one last gasp to squeeze more money out of taxpayers before the new law goes into effect.

This is just too perfect an example
of how the Democrats work to facilitate higher benefits for public employees at the expense of the taxpayers. The Secretary of State of Wisconsin is the descendant of the original Battling Bob La Follette. And this La Follette is going to delay publishing the new law to the maximum 10 days. This will give school boards and local government leaders an opportunity to rush through new agreements for the unions before the new law takes effect.
The law doesn't go into effect until the day after Secretary of State Doug La Follette publishes it and it doesn't supersede contracts already in place, fueling unions' desire to reach new deals quickly. La Follette said Monday that he will delay publication until the latest day possible, March 25, to give local governments time to try to reach agreements.
Since the whole idea is to give communities a tool to keep their expenses manageable, it is totally irresponsible to try to get around the new limitations by rushing through such agreements. These districts need to think about how to make do with even less money as the state struggles to deal with the deficits it is facing.
Walker also is proposing a nearly $1 billion cut in aid to schools in his two-year budget plan that would take effect in July. He argued that for that reason, districts need to get more money from their employees to help mitigate the loss in aid. Walker also wants to limit the ability of schools and local governments to pay for the cuts through local property tax increases.

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards is telling districts to be cautious about approving contracts that will make it more difficult for them to handle Walker's proposed cuts. Since Walker unveiled the bill on Feb. 11, between 50 and 100 of the state's 424 districts have approved deals with unions, said Bob Butler, an attorney with the association.
So if they squeeze out new deals in this short breathing space allowed by Doug La Follette's delay, they will be cutting of their noses to spite their faces since they'll have to deal with smaller budgets in the future.
If districts lock in deals with unions that don't have concessions to help make up for the aid cuts, that could force them into making "mass layoffs," said Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie.
But do the unions really care about mass layoffs as long as the majority of their workers get their nice benefits? Teacher unions have a history of turning down requests for across -the-board salary or benefit cuts in preference for teacher lay offs.

If I were a taxpayer in some Wisconsin community, I would be furious if my elected school board members rushed through negotiations and locked in higher benefits over the next few days while knowing that budget cuts will be necessary this year. Where do they expect those cuts to come from?