Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s attempts to end bargaining on “out-of-whack” pension and benefit rights are not union busting but rather an effort to restore balance between public and private workers, Americans for Prosperity’s Tim Phillips tells Newsmax.TV. The move will lead to similar budget fixes across the country, Phillips predicted.
Phillips contends that there is strong support throughout Wisconsin for Walker’s budget measures, which would end collective bargaining for pension and other benefits such as healthcare for public-sector employees, with the exception of police and firefighters. He sensed the backing during a four-day, 12-stop bus tour that Americans for Prosperity launched across the Badger State.
In addition, the public spoke strongly at the ballot box in November, calling for fiscal sanity and a new direction in the state, he told Newsmax in the exclusive interview.
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“Collective bargaining is the reason we have pensions and benefits that are way out of whack with the public sector,” Phillips said. “So in order to have long-term reform of those pensions and benefits, you have got to end the collective bargaining. This is not an attempt to bust the unions or anything like that. This is simply an attempt to get the economy moving in Wisconsin again and to restore balance between private sector workers and public sector employees.”
Phillips believes that Walker will succeed with his budgeting proposals because they embody common sense and will save money, create jobs and get the economy moving. Although unable to predict when Walker could declare victory, he did predict that such proposals will sweep the country — as they have begun to already.
“I think that there’s going to be realignment across this country, not in an attempt to destroy unions, that is not the effort . . . but I do think there’s going to be realignment,” he said. “When people in the private sector since 2008 have lost 8 million jobs in America and the government workforce at county city state and federal level has actually increased, things are out of whack.
“When a federal worker averages a salary $123,000 plus a year and for comparable work, when you include the benefits, they are paid often double what a private sector employee’s paid, that’s out of whack. When half or more of state budgets are going to pay for retirement, pension benefits for retired workers or for the current workforce that’s unsustainable, and so you’re going to see a realignment.”
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