The Next Chris Christie: Wisconsin's Scott Walker

Friday, 18 Feb 2011 02:07 PM

By Grover Norquist

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As part of Gov. Scott Walker’s current budget repair bill to close a $137 million deficit in the current fiscal year’s budget and a projected $3.6 billion deficit in the next two-year budget, he has proposed:
  • Government-sector unions to agree to reforms that would limit collective bargaining for most government-sector employees to wages only, with wages capped to inflation.
  • Union members would also have to vote every year to keep their union.
  • The state would no longer collect union dues.
  • The bill would require union members to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward their pensions and 12.6 percent to the cost of their health insurance premiums.
    • The comparable nationwide employee healthcare contribution is 20 percent, according to the BLS.
    • The comparable employee contribution for retirement was 7.5 percent in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.
Talking Points from Gov. Walker
  • This isn’t about collective bargaining, or anything else, it’s about balancing a budget and preventing layoffs.
  • While it may be bold politically, it is a modest proposal to ask state workers to pay 5 percent of their pension contribution and 12 percent — half the national average — of their healthcare premiums.
  • We got elected to do a job, the governor has been at work every day this week and is asking the Senate Democrats to do their job, just like the vast majority of the 300,000 public workers in Wisconsin are doing today, and the millions of taxpayers are doing today.
  • The governor’s proposal will save the state $300 million over the biennium, preventing around 5,500 layoffs of state workers and a similar amount of local government employees and teachers.
  • As a result, governor's budget will not include furloughs or layoffs.
  • Workers will save money because union dues will not be required or collected by the government.
  • The vast majority of state government workers are good, decent hard-working people.
  • The proposal will also give local governments the flexibility to deal with the necessary spending cuts that Wisconsin will have to implement to balance their $3.6 billion deficit.
  • This bill has had an unprecedented level of public debate, over 17 hours of public hearings. Two years ago, Wisconsin Democrats introduced a billion-dollar tax increase on Wednesday and passed it on Thursday, with no public hearing.
  • The president should focus on balancing his budget, and Senate Democrats should do their job.
  • While the protestors at the Capitol are making their voices heard, Gov. Walker and the state Republicans are also making sure that the taxpayers have a voice.
Why It Matters Nationally
  • GOP governors are providing a clear contrast of the difference between Republican executive leadership and that of the Democrats.
  • Wisconsin is one of many states where Republican governors are taking on “third rail” type issues. A victory or defeat in Wisconsin will ripple through other states and Washington, D.C.
  • Governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich, and Chris Christie are taking on entitlements that threaten the long-term fiscal health of their states while President Obama is punting on federal entitlements.
  • Republican governors are showing you can balance difficult budgets without raising taxes.
  • Democrat governors in Illinois, Minnesota and Connecticut have proposed or enacted massive tax hikes.
    • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn increased the state income tax by 67 percent.
    • Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed raising taxes by more than $3 billion. It is the largest tax increase ever proposed by a Minnesota governor and would result in Minnesota having the highest state income tax rate in the nation.
    • Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy proposed $3.4 billion in new tax revenue over the next 2 years.
  • The battle with government-sector unions will also extend to other issues like education reform where Republican governors are taking on issues like teacher tenure, charter schools and school choice.

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