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FreedomWorks is a leading grassroots organization with over one million members fighting for lower taxes, less government and more freedom. I am writing today to urge you to vote YES on Wisconsin’s budget repair bill. Faced with an impending budget crisis, Wisconsin’s Governor Walker has proposed a “budget repair” bill that will balance the budget without having to raise taxes on any of its citizens.
Currently, Wisconsin faces a deficit of $137 million for the fiscal year that ends this July. The Department of Administration estimates that the 2011-2013 deficit will be at $3.6 billion. The State also faces many short falls in other programs like Medicaid, which is exceeding appropriations by $153 million for the Fiscal Year 2010-2011. To address these issues, the bill focuses on reforming the collective bargaining, pension, and healthcare premium systems for State employees.
The legislation put forward makes reasonable demands of those employed by the State. Governor Walker is asking for workers to pay 5.8% of their pay to their pension and pay roughly 12% of their healthcare benefits. Despite the howls of organized labor protests, these numbers are fair, even generous, when compared with the national averages of the private sector. The 5.8% pension payment is equivalent to the national private sector average, while the 12% premium payment is close to only half of the national private sector average.
In addition, the bill also loosens the grip that unions place on the public sector by forbidding unions from collectively bargaining for benefits beyond base pay. Union bosses will also be weakened by bill provisions that require annual secret ballot votes to determine the legitimacy of a union in addition to allowing public sector workers to opt out of expensive and compulsory union dues.
Governor Walker’s bill goes beyond combating overbearing union demands to alleviate the state’s fiscal crisis. The budget repair bill also contains provisions to restructure the State’s debt, reducing service costs by $165 million this fiscal year. Further, the proposal places State run heat and energy plants up for sale, allowing private sector expansion, job growth, and competition in Wisconsin’s energy industry. I urge you to support Gov. Walker’s budget repair bill today.
President and CEO
[Click here to see a pdf version of this letter.]