This second analysis of the “Madness in Madison”emphasizes why the Act 10 initiative, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,was so important and why Taxpayers United of America (TUA)was involved in supporting it. Indeed, on February 28, 2011, TUA and its Wisconsin contingent was the first anti-tax group to gain legal entry into the capitol building and support the following common-sense solutions to remedy Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget gap.
It should be noted that the idea of unionized government employees is outrageous and is self-contradictory. Understanding this, Act 10 barred collective bargaining over benefits, hours and working conditions. Capped wage increases to inflation and mandated that school and other municipal employees make pension contributions to their retirement systems. It restructured debt. Act 10 also changed long-overdue health insurance policies.It gave state employees the freedom from paying union dues if they so choose and it prohibited strikes for any reasons. These and other measures not only allowed Wisconsin to eliminate a multi-billion-dollar debt but also to balance the annual budget,all without resorting to tax hikes. Instead of feeding the bloated bureaucratic monster, Act 10 put it on a diet.
This bold stand by Governor Scott Walker should be an example to other governors bullied by state unions. Courageous action like this is desperately needed in Illinois, where TUA will continue to hold Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker accountable to the citizens of the Prairie State.
The vast majority of government employees in Wisconsin did not contribute towards pensions. Wisconsin taxpayers were forced to do it for them. Since its implementation, state employees have contributed more than $8 billion to their own pensions. The free ride was over. Today, teachers, for example, pay 6.75 percent of their salary to their pensions while another 6.75 is contributed by their employers.
After TUA’s lengthy press conference, several members of the group were verbally accosted as they exited the Capitol building. Loud shouted threats, bad language and several up-raised fists created a threatening situation. Outside, while being interviewed by local media, thousands of organized government-union protesters and their young naive chanting-followers tried to outshout the dialogue TUA president Jim Tobin was having with the media. Free speech is an impediment to pro-bureaucratic big-government sycophants.