The people of Wisconsin elected Scott Walker as governor and flipped both houses of the State Assembly in order to get some leaders who would straighten out the budget mess we have. Our state has the second highest per capita debt in the nation, and we already have the fourth highest tax burden. We did not want to issue out IOU's to state employees because we had no money to pay them, like California infamously did a few years back. We also did not want to go the way of Illinois and raise our state income tax 67%.
Governor Walker and the Republicans in the State Assembly saw that our current fiscal year was $167 million short. They needed to make up that shortfall with a budget repair bill. Since 60% of our state budget is labor, it is easy to see that you would need to work on that to get some savings.
Years of Democratic control had gotten us contracts with labor unions that were far too restrictive to allow any significant reductions. As an example, the Milwaukee Public School system has a contract with the teachers' union that restricts the health insurance choice to the union-provided plan. If the district were to change to the plan state employees have, they could save $67 million a year.
That is the main reason we had to reduce collective bargaining among public employees. We had unions taking money from the workers and funneling it into the election campaign funds of Democrats. Those Democrats were then obligated to give the unions bloated contracts or face losing their biggest campaign contributors. By restricting the damage to the state budget from this extortion, we can now actually do the unthinkable and work to reduce our debt.
This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. Nobody is taking away any rights. We are restructuring the way contracts are negotiated. The unions raised a huge protest for one reason and one reason only: they stood to lose a large portion of their income. You see, the bill also included provisions that eliminated state collection of union dues and made the payment of union dues voluntary. The union bosses could not stand to have their jobs endangered, so they staged the big protest in the name of "rights." It isn't about rights at all. It's about unions wanting to continue robbing taxpayers to keep themselves in unnecessary jobs.
Show me a man who is twenty and not a liberal, and I will show you a man with no heart.
Show me a man who is forty and not a conservative, and I will show you a man with no brain.