Friday, February 18, 2011

What is actually being proposed in Wisconsin?

What are all of the protests in Wisconsin all about?

Ezra Klein explained in a recent Washington Post article that a lot of people are confused about what's actually being proposed in Gov. Scott Walker's "Budget Repair bill."

The bill takes away the right to collectively bargain from most, but not all state and local workers. "Local law enforcement and fire employees, and state troopers and inspectors would be exempt from these changes." As Harold Meyerson notes, these are the unions that happened to be more supportive of Walker in the last election.

Why did Walker decide to eliminate collective bargaining for the unions who didn't support him? MSBNC explains this well:

Walker's Democratic predecessor, Jim Doyle, estimated that in June of 2011, Wisconsin would still have a $10 million surplus, but Walker has said the state is facing a $137 million deficit today. Why the discrepancy?

--Walker made a number of adjustments to Doyle’s estimates, mainly accounting for higher-than-expected Medicaid costs.
--Walker also pushed through three tax cut bills negatively impacting projected tax revenues by $117 million
--the tax cuts went toward health savings accounts, deductions for relocated businesses, and exclusions for hiring new employees.

So, basically Walker gave tax breaks to corporations and now he is taking collective bargaining rights away from state workers to pay for it.
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