The GOP around the country is trying to break the unions. A few have backed off now, after seeing how the polls have turned against the politicians. But what is really behind this?
Obviously, it’s not budgets. The Division of Executive Budget and Finance of the State Controller’s Office reported in its annual fiscal report June 30, 2010:
The General Fund has an undesignated balance of $71.0 million as of the end of the fiscal year. This is $264.8 million lower than
the balance of $335.8 million projected in the estimate for 2009 Wisconsin Act 28 and other related budget legislation. The lower
ending balance is due primarily to previously reported spending above amounts estimated in Act 28 for the Medicaid program.
The increased Medicaid spending is a result of higher caseloads due to the economic recession.
Of course, shortly after Gov. Walker was sworn in, there were two bills passed that have raised questions.
The first bill 2011 Wisconsin Act 1 to pass concerned taxes on contributions to health savings accounts. Wisconsin was only 1 of 4 states to tax these contributions (making them after-tax contributions). According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, this will cost the state approximately $49 million over the next two years. And while this is a good thing for all Wisconsin workers who can AFFORD HSAs, it would reduce General Fund balance by 2/3. If you can’t afford an HSA, you get nothing.
2011 Wisconsin Act 3 provided tax breaks for companies to relocate to Wisconsin – including those from other countries. While the costs of this bill ($1 million in lost revenue) will be spread over the next two years, it is a considerable sum in a state budget.
2011 Wisconsin Act 9 will further hamstring the budget process by requiring a 2/3 vote before taxes can be raised.
Wisconsin has dutifully funded its pension plans so, unlike many other states, that’s not an issue.
Is it just about breaking the unions? Is it just about breaking the Democratic base? We know it’s not about the budget.
I see this as yet another distraction the GOP has set in motion to divide the working class yet again – this time between the public and private sector.
The battle is raging all across the blogs and all across the country. What many in the private sector are forgetting is that many of them at one time did have pension plans…that are now ONLY 401k plans since they had no unions to help them keep their pension plans.
If the GOPers can end these plans in various states across the county – Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, who will benefit? Why Wall Street will! Millions of new 401k plans so the banksters can use our money yet again to game the system in their favor.
You only have to look at the video clips — when it was the Wall Street banksters getting big fat bonus checks, all the talking head were saying they were entitled to that money because they had “contracts” that had to be recognized.
But when it comes to the working folks, those contracts mean nothing; just go listen to the talking heads now.
Geo W. Bush, “my base…the haves and the haves more.”
If any of you think this is NOT class warfare, you are sadly mistaken.