I'm very concerned about violence breaking out at the capital later today. Protesters swarmed the building this past evening, breaking into garden-level windows and forcing open emergency entrances to gain access after the building was supposed to close to all visitors at 6pm. The police did not have nearly enough people on hand to keep the protesters out. I don't think they'll have enough people on hand tomorrow to protect the Assembly members when they vote on the collective bargain rules, certainly not if a bunch of union people come up from Chicago tomorrow, as they have been in increasing numbers in the last 10-14 days or so.
As far as the negotiations have been: Walker and Fitzgerald have been doing back-door negotiations for the past couple weeks with the Dems, even meeting with them in border counties face-to-face to discuss it. They thought they had a deal hammered out on Monday--in fact one Dem source reported it to the Wall Street Journal. Miller, the Minority leader who's apparently under pressure from Washington to stay in IL, reneged on the deal.
On top of that, we now have the recall insanity going on, with the national GOP and Dem parties getting involved to fund that bullsh*t. My state senator will likely be recalled, unfortunately, even though he's done a pretty decent job the rest of the time he's been in office. So, more of my tax dollars will be wasted on paying for unnecessary elections.
The Dems can't stay in IL forever. One of the state senators is 7 months pregnant, and she needs to be seeing her OB on a more frequent basis now that she's farther along in her pregnancy. I'm sure she'd rather be at home in early labor than in a hotel room in IL, too. Other Dems want to go home, too.
The facts: the state is going to be 3 billion in debt. We have to make cuts all over the place, and we can't just keep increasing taxes. WI has one of the highest state taxes already--there's a limit to what we can pay. We can't attract as much business as other states because of all the regulations, fees, and taxes. At the same time, there are rampant union rules abuses that can't be fixed any other way because the union won't allow it. Is it right that a city bus driver in Madison makes 100k EXTRA in overtime pay by manipulating overtime rules? He's not the only one of those bus drivers, either. Rampant abuse is going on in the state prison system as well--a guy will call in sick on first shift and then go into work on 2nd shift and collect overtime pay. That is the kind of abuse and rules manipulation that is driving the anger against the unions. It's also directly affecting my tax rate. I'm having enough trouble trying to make it by in this recession. Why should I pay higher taxes and license fees (my licensure fees went up 100% this last license period!) so some union member can cheat the system? Do you think I'm going to be overly sympathetic at your measly 8% increase in your pension and healthcare contributions when it's still well below private sector increases in those equivalent contributions, and when my fees went up _100%_ to pay for the rules abuses? It's never going to get fixed until the state gov't gets some control over the collective bargaining abuses. Other state workers without public unions do quite well, WI workers will do fine, too.
On top of that, we have teachers acting incredibly irresponsibly by walking off their jobs and calling in sick to go protest, forcing schools to close, AND taking kids to the protests without parent permission. There were doctors from the UW-Madison clinic the first weekend of the protests giving out sick passes to any teacher who asked for one. In fact, they actually post-dated some of the sick passes so people could come back the next week to protest! My husband was there and actually SAW this blatant fraud. These are the same teachers who are supposed to be teaching my children about plagiarism and intellectual honesty? I was disgusted.
The teachers are warning that these cuts could hurt the children. I'd like to point out that the administrative costs for the Madison school district (for teacher/admin staff pay and benefits) is nearly twice as much as what is actually spent on each student.
The police union in Milwaukee is trying to dictate to the superintendent how many detectives he should have in the desk jobs. Shouldn't it be the Police superintendent's job to determine staffing levels?
Do I think excluding police and fire is OK? Not really, but they have to start somewhere. There's no law saying the teachers and other workers can't organize in some fashion. It just says they can't have a public employee union.
Do I think how Walker is handling it is perfect? No, it's pretty damned heavy-handed. I suppose that's a reflection of getting completely blown off by union leaders when he tried to make budget suggestions to them last November that were less draconian.
As a final note: Where the heck were all you protesters last November when it COUNTED? Voter turnout was not spectacular. You knew what Walker was all about. You saw his work in Milwaukee. You heard him clearly saying he was going to cut spending. As in, cut GOVERNMENT spending. Did you gov't workers somehow think you'd be excluded by magic? If half of you had showed up for the election like I had, you would not have had this problem. And I would not have had to contribute taxes to pay for the $7 million bucks (and climbing) in protester-caused damage to the capital building and all the extra police protection required to maintain some basic level of order. Nor would I be worrying about the safety of elected representatives at the capital later this morning. NO representative, regardless of the party, should ever have to fear for their safety. I fear the mob will become violent, and that people will get hurt. I don't want to see anyone hurt, regardless of their stance on this issue.
Edit: To the people who have sent very detailed and scary death threats to WI GOP Assembly and Senate representatives: I'm abhorred. You're worse than the problem you're trying to stop!!! All you're doing is making the Dem party look awful! I hope the Dept. of Justice finds you yesterday.
Last edited by Jae Onasi; 03-10-2011 at 05:11 PM.