Scott Walker’s Budget Reform Bill
Compiled by Jessica Walworth
Governor Scott Walker has been called everything from a national hero to a dictatorial villain since his Budget Reform Bill proposal was introduced on February 11, 2011. A national headlining controversy has split the populace of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin’s citizens will now decide whether Walker is a “principled man keeping his word to tackle a $3.6 billion state budget deficit or an ideologue determined to advance a union-busting agenda.”
What Scott Walker Proposed:
(Accessed from Office of the Governor 02.11.2011)
“We must take immediate action to ensure fiscal stability in our state,” said Governor Walker. “This budget repair bill will meet the immediate needs of our state and give government the tools to deal with this and future budget crises.”
The state of Wisconsin is facing an immediate deficit of $137 million for the current fiscal year which ends July 1. In addition, bill collectors are waiting to collect over $225 million for a prior raid of the Patients’ Compensation Fund.
The budget repair bill will balance the budget and lay the foundation for a long-term sustainable budget through several measures without raising taxes, raiding segregated funds, or using accounting gimmicks.
First, it will require state employees to pay about 5.8% toward their pension (about the private sector national average) and about 12% of their healthcare benefits (about half the private sector national average). These changes will help the state save $30 million in the last three months of the current fiscal year.
“It’s fair to ask public employees to make a pension payment of just over 5%, which is about the national average, and a premium payment of 12%, which is about half of the national average,” said Governor Walker.
The budget repair will also restructure the state debt, lowering the state’s interest rate, saving the state $165 million.
These changes will help the state fulfill its Medicaid spending commitment for needy families of about $170 million; funding that the previous administration did not have in its budget. It will also allow the state to spend an additional $21 million for Department of Correction expenses.
For a full summary of the Governor’s budget repair bill:
· Widespread protests began Feb 15, with 13,000 people attending rallies in and around the Capitol. Crowds peaked at 70,000 a week ago, a few thousand of which were tea party counter-protestors.
· Public schools closed due to teacher shortages due to protesting faculty members.(http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110216/us_yblog_thelookout/wisconsin-schools-closed-after-teachers-call-in-sick-in-protest)
Wisconsin teachers protest at the Madison state capitol
· Several University of Wisconsin family physicians were caught distributing fraudulent “sick notes” free, quite literally by the boxful, to teachers and others who skipped work to engage in political protest at the state Capitol in Madison.
· Several polls exist with conflicting results on Wisconsin’s opinion of Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill.
Articles & Opinions:
· A statistical analysis of Milwaukee School District’s average income and the impact The Budget Repair Bill will have on teachers’ pay:
· An editorial discussing the necessity of Gov. Scott Walker’s proactive plan:
· An editorial stating that the Budget Repair Bill is both a reality check and common sense:
· An opinion piece discussing the Democratic Senators who fled Wisconsin:
We would love to hear what you think about the issue!