Governor Scot Walker (R-WI) is working hard to make sure that government schools can meet their budgets this year, but you'd have to be interested in more than the sound bite if you're reading the Main Stream Media reports. From USA Today:
MADISON, Wis. — Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday outlined a $59.3 billion, two-year budget plan that would cut $749 million in aid to public schools over that period and reduce county and municipal aid by $96 million in 2012.
It isn't until the tenth paragraph that the bias--and the reason for Governor Walker's stance against public-sector unions--becomes clear:
Walker's move to end collective bargaining for most public employee unions, said Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a non-partisan research group, is his way of helping schools and local governments cut costs.
"If you're going to really slam local government and you have no choice given the budget math," he said, "then the only way to deliver them some ... relief on the other side of the ledger" is to give them ways to cut labor costs.
In other words, the State of Wisconsin needs to cut $3.6billion from its budget over the next two years, and the Governor intends to do that is by slashing State funding for education (among dozens more programs and cost-cutting measures). To make sure that local school districts can afford to pay their bills, he and the Republicans in the state capitol are giving those school districts greater ability to control their labor costs.
The unionized employees of the state are hard at work trying to frame this fight as a "David vs. Goliath" fight:
Outside, demonstrator Chris Dequaine, a state corrections worker from Green Bay, said he came to Madison to protest for the day because Walker's move to limit collective bargaining powers is wrong.
"It has absolutely nothing to do with solving the budget crisis," he said. "Everybody is fed up. He is trying to balance the state budget on the backs of state employees and abolish unions all in the same stroke and people are fed up with it."
Apparently, this fellow doesn't realize that it's the taxpayers of the State of Wisconsin who are fed up. Sure, the unions can get their members to the capitol to demonstrate, but they're only demonstrating how spoiled they are. They don't care if the state balances its budget as long as they keep the benefits and high salaries that most of the rest of the country has been forced to give up since the recession began. They aren't interested in whether the taxpayers can afford it; they're only interest is in themselves.
The way that public sector collective bargaining works, unions meet with government officials and tell those politicians, "Give us more stuff, and we'll deliver votes for you." In states where the politicians have signed on, the unions are tremendously strong and have even more power to drive members to the polls and drive money to campaigns. Their preferred politicians tend to get elected more often.
There was a sign quoted in the article that read, "If you are not at the table you are probably on the menu." That union protester probably didn't realize it, but it's actually a protest sign against the unions. The one party who hasn't been at the bargaining table all along has been the taxpayer.
Cross-posted at The Minority Report.