In order to pay the property taxes on Stately Blaska Manor and the Historic Grounds, I am forced to double the subscription price of Blaska's Blogge starting immediately.
Yes, the City of Madison's organized employees will get theirs and the rest of us get the shaft. Sure, city employees pay taxes, too. But they don't pay their own salaries!
In part because the city locked into wage increases with labor unions, city of Madison comptroller Dean Brasser said the city would need a $22 million tax levy increase to maintain city services at current levels. That would put the city $8.5 million above the new levy limit set by Walker's budget proposal for 2012.
Will the city go to referendum, as would be required by the Walker budget? Or will it lay off employees? Curtail services? How typically greedy of the unions; how typically spineless our liberal officials.
The city's budget briefing immediately followed the special appearance of the rhyming troublemaker Jesse Jackson Friday on the steps of the City-County Building, welcomed by the mayor, to exhort the unionized hordes to maintain their militancy.
I have asked all 20 alders this question:
Please explain why you were willing to put the taxpayers of this city on the hook for a $22 million tax increase while rushing to give city employees 3 and 2 percent pay increases in each of the next two years? Why are you willing to inflict the pain of tax increases on city taxpayers but not to ask 3,500 city employees to make a modest contribution to their pension and health plans?
No, it's not the public employees' fault that the economy went south but neither is it my fault.
I received this response from the courageous Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele:
This Gang (including Council Leadership) has been heavily endorsed, supported, financed etc...all the way to City Hall by these local unions, time and again! Once in office, they need to cling to power and must serve these special interest groups, their real BOSSES.
... My kudos to Governor Walker on his efforts to fix (the) WI budget. He knows the current corruptions and reality that the status quos won't accept any repairs. The Gang will do EVERYTHING to protect their own perks at our expense.
Tea party is energized, too
Good news from Sunday's tea party at the Alliant Energy Center. A total of 120,000 people have signed a petition backing Governor Scott Walker -- either on-line or in person. Several from among the crowd of some 800 said Mark Miller was in town. What are we waiting for? Meanwhile, sign the petition for his recall if you see it.
Saw Brett Hulsey in the lobby of the expo center; the Home Show was in town. Put my arm around ol' Brett and announced, quite loudly, "Brett is my friend. Do not harm him." Not that it would occur to a tea partier. Intimidation is not our thing.
They just don't get it
New York state workers -- From the New York Times today:
Last April, in the midst of one of the worst financial crises that New York and the nation have ever faced, the state's unionized workers got a 4 percent pay raise ... It came on top of 3 percent raises in each of the previous three years. ... During the same period ... private sector wages in New York dropped nearly 9 percent.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo ... expects public unions to make sacrifices, starting with a salary freeze ... greater employee contributions to pensions and health benefits. ... So far, union leaders have publicly resisted. [NY Times 03-06-11: State workers and New York's fiscal crisis]
The Milwaukee Area Technical College board and its teachers union was one of those local governments to rush through a union-friendly contract -- this one for three years! Mike Nichols at WPRI walks us through it:
Not just the parts guaranteeing no-cost pensions, no layoffs of full-time teachers and eye-poppingly generous (albeit temporarily frozen) salaries for full-time teachers making close to $100,000.
... The contract is about much more though than what employees get. It's also about what the administration does not: flexibility to make a move on virtually anything without endless review and deliberation.
Racine city union grieves snow removal
Local 67 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, may well have garnered the prize in that department when they filed a grievance against the City of Racine for hiring outside contractors to help dig out from the Feb. 1-2 blizzard that overwhelmed southeast Wisconsin.
... It is a good example -- or actually a bad example -- of the difficulties municipalities have had in dealing with unions over work rules and contracts. [Racine Journal-Times: 03-03-2011]
Comrade John knows better
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald started the constitutional crisis? How, by staying in Madison to do his job? John Nichols, in his Sunday State Journal column, quotes extensively from Lester Pines, the Madison attorney who has profited handsomely from Democrat(ic) party dues payers. John neglects Article IV, Section 7 of the State Constitution, which provides that the flee-baggers may be compelled to attend. Attorney Jim Troupis explains. A circuit judge has already ruled that the Senate does have the power to compel attendance.
How is preventing state government from functioning NOT a constitutional crisis?
Madison is 'the end of the beginning'
A truly thoughtful audio essay on the third great meta change after turn to agriculture at the dawn of civilization, industrialism at end of 19th Century and its turn into progressivism and socialism, to today's new information age. A political pushback against big toward dispersed, decentralized, horizontal, and small government. Bill Whittle on The Firewall.
Try this one: Government Unions 101 -- What Public-Sector Unions Won't Tell You. It's a primer from the Heritage Foundation.
I was disappointed that Governor Walker has proposed curtailing the earned income tax credit. This was proposed by conservative economist Milton Friedman as a means to encourage the poor to work their way up the ladder. Tommy Thompson was a fan of this program. It should be restored.
What a wonderful world it would be