WRITTEN BY A REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN
As you know, the Republicans took bold action last night. The Republicans split the Budget Repair Bill into two pieces: (1) one piece continues to contain budget/financial provisions, and (2) another piece contains the provisions which amend the collective bargaining laws. The first piece requires a quorum (i.e. Senators present to vote) of 20 Senators. Since there are only 19 Republican Senators, one Democrat is needed to establish a quorum to pass the “Budget” portion of the bill. However, all other bills can be adopted with a smaller quorum of 17 Senators. Hence, the Republicans simply removed the collective bargaining provisions from the Budget bill, and passed the collective bargaining provisions in a separate bill which only required a quorum of 17 Senators.
The liberal media is portraying this action as being “unexpected” or “radical.” To the contrary, the action taken by the Republicans is exactly the option that has been discussed for weeks. For weeks, the media and bloggers have discussed the option of removing the “collective bargaining” provisions from the Budget Bill and enacting them using a smaller quorum.
Moreover, this action was taken only after Senate Democrats informed the Governor, again, that they would not negotiate.
It is important for us, as Republicans, to take every opportunity to explain what is happening to our friends and neighbors. I have the feeling that the Republicans are losing the “media battle” primarily because the liberal media favors the Democratic Party and is, in general, shallow in their analysis of the issues. For example, I watched all 3 Madison stations last night, and none of them could explain why the Republicans were able to pass this bill without the missing Senate Democrats. They didn’t understand the “quorum” rules that have been at the heart of the Democrats flight to Illinois. After 3 weeks of coverage, they still didn’t understand (or want to report) the critical distinction between the quorum needed for a “budget” bill and the quorum needed for other bills.
As you talk to your friends and neighbors, it is important to remember the following:
1. The Bill is NOT against the working class: The partial removal of collective bargaining rights for only “public employees” affects a small segment of the work force. Think of all the carpenters, plumbers, electricians, laborers, farmers, and factory workers in Juneau County who are members of the so-called “Working Class” but who are not members of a “public employee union.” Furthermore, this new law does not affect police unions, firefighter unions, and unions at private employers. Moreover, this new Law saves the “Working Class” from huge tax increases that would be necessary if this Bill were not passed.
2. The Bill does NOT destroy all bargaining rights: The Bill only takes away the right to bargain for retirement benefits, health insurance benefits, and some other benefits. It does not take away the right to bargain for wages. This change means that public employee wages should go UP to match the wages being paid in the private sector.
3. Many other States already have this Law: The Federal Government and 22 other states already have this type of law. More states are moving in the same direction as Wisconsin. Ohio recently enacted a broader law, that applies to police and firefighter unions.
4. This “Right-to-Work” law will hurt the Democratic Party: There is a reason why the Democrats are screaming about this law, and it has nothing to do with the fact that public sector workers will be required to contribute more to their health and retirement plans. Before this law, Wisconsin was a “Closed Shop” state, which meant that employees working for a Union employer had to join the Union and had to have union dues deducted from their paychecks. Employees had no choice in the matter – they could not elect to stay out of the Union. This new Law makes Wisconsin an “Open Shop” or “Right to Work” state, which means that employees cannot be forced to join a Union or be forced to pay Union dues. This little change has huge implications for the Democratic Party because Unions force workers to pay dues, which are then funneled to the Democratic party. The Democrats know that in other “Right to Work” States, Unions collect smaller dues because many employees don’t want to join the Union. As a result, the Democratic Party loses a huge source of funding.
5. “It’s all about Freedom:” This is one of the Union’s protest slogans. However, this slogan supports Walker’s Budget Bill in the following ways:
a. The new Law gives workers more freedom to decide whether to join a Union.
b. The new Law gives workers more freedom to decide whether to pay Union Dues.
c. The new Law gives local governments and school districts more freedom to control health care costs and retirement costs, by selecting more cost-effective plans and by requiring workers to contribute a “fair share” to their own health and retirement plans, without having to get Union approval.
6. “It’s all about the kids:” This is one of the protest slogans used by teachers. However, this slogan supports Walker’s Budget Bill in the following ways:
a. Kids aren’t helped when school districts have to lay off teachers, thereby reducing classes offered to students and increasing the size of classrooms. The Bill will give school districts the tools to balance their budgets without laying off teachers.
b. Kids aren’t helped when teachers leave the classroom to protest.
c. Kids aren’t helped when teachers wear protest buttons to school, and brainwash students with the “Union message.”
d. Kids aren’t helped when they are taught, by the Democrats, that “democracy” means “minority rule.”
e. Kids aren’t helped when they are taught, by the Democrats, that the way to resolve political problems is for the minority to run and hide in Illinois in an effort to frustrate the will of a majority of elected representatives.
f. Kids aren’t helped when they are encouraged to march in a picket line, for reasons they really don’t understand.
g. Kids aren’t helped when they see adults acting like children.
7. The new Law saves the public from huge tax increases: Without the Budget Repair bill, where would the money come from to balance the budget? Previous administrations raided every fund available (e.g. tobacco, highway, patient’s compensation, etc), and previous administrations recently passed tax increases of over $1 Billion. So, what is the answer? The answer is obvious to every person who has ever balanced a check book. Governemnt must cut expenses, and one way for any enterprise (public or private) to cut expenses is to cut employee wages and benefits. When GM got into fiscal difficulty, thousands of workers lost their jobs, and those remaining took huge cuts in wages and benefits. When the government gets into fiscal difficulty, the solution is the same. This doesn’t mean that public sector employees should bear the entire financial burden of our current financial difficulties. They aren’t. We’ll all feel the pain as our taxes (income and real estate) go up, and as public services go down. Sadly enough, there are still dark days ahead as we slowly work our way out of this financial mess.
8. “18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people:” This amazing statement was made by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, from a hidden location in Illinois, where he had fled for the sole purpose of preventing a majority of Senators from voting on the Budget Repair Bill, which had been duly and properly introduced and debated in the Senate. Let us not forget that Governor Walker and all of our the State Senators and Assembly Persons were duly and properly elected – even the Republicans. The “people” of Wisconsin spoke in a valid election. Senator Miller, and the Democratic minority, obviously have a new definition of “democracy.” In their world, “democracy” means “minority rule,” not “majority rule.”
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