Walker’s proposal to balance the state budget? Stick it to state employees!

In contrast to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett, who has offered a detailed 67-page plan for cutting state government spending if he’s elected governor, neither of the Republican candidates, Mark Neumann and Scott Walker, have offered detailed plans for cutting state spending in order to close a structural budget deficit estimated at $2.3 billion. However, on Friday Walker finally did note he would seek concessions from state employees to address the state’s fiscal problems. News that Walker would seek to balance the state’s budget deficit on the backs of hard working state employees should come as a shock to absolutely no one, given Walker’s proven record of disdain and contempt for government employees.

When asked to detail specific policies he’d enact as governor to address the 2011-’13 budget that now has a $2.3 billion deficit built into it, Walker’s first response was to propose major wage and benefit cuts from state employees to close that gap. Throughout his time as Milwaukee County Executive, Walker has made it his mission to try to cut as dramatically as possible the salaries and benefits of thousands of middle class County employees, and no doubt he’s salivating at the chance to do the same to tens of thousands of middle class state employees.

What I’d like to know is why Scott Walker hates middle class folks as much as he does.


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22 thoughts on “Walker’s proposal to balance the state budget? Stick it to state employees!

  1. Dear Tom.. I am glad you have 67 pages of savings in spending for the State…..But since you want that job..Let’s try doing something with your current job as the Mayor of Milwaukee CITY. Now maybe 67 pages for just Milw might be a stretch..but you have had about 6-8 years and I haven’t seen 6 pages yet. Now let’s see the guy who runs Milwaukee COUNTY has controlled spending and ACTUALLY made cuts… despite a hostile Council, And you have in the same amount of time done no cutting. Scott Walker seems to have a record of Accomplishment and you have a record of?????

  2. So, the private sector have been losing jobs by the truckload, salaries and benefits are being cut, but we can’t ask government employees to make concessions? Ridiculous.

  3. squidknuckle

    We already made concessions. They’re called furloughs and they’re a 3% pay cut.

    1. Oh, the humanity! You still have a job and pension. People in the private sector actually have to contribute to their own retirement. Tell me, how much of your paycheck goes to your retirement?

      1. I pay out of each and every pay chek into my retirement. I worked in the private sector doing the same job I am now doing for the state. I made $4 more PER HOUR with less experience. The job that I do is paid $8 more per hour starting in IL and MN. My supervisors start out making what the people in my job do in the surrounding states. So you think that the lower level state employees have it so good. Come work a day in my job. Cut my salary more and take away my benefits? Good luck getting anyone with a college degree or any intelligence to do my job. If people are complaining about not having jobs, there are always companies hiring. YOu just have to take a paycut. I know because I HELP people who are truly looking to find a job. And its usually for doing less work or something below your skill level. I have gotten a 2% raise in 4 years. And this year I took a 3% paycut. So punishing the lower level state employees is not the answer. Getting rid of the people who misuse and abuse their positions is a part of the answer. Have accountability for projects that go over budget. Stop taking from one budget to fill another. If the one section is out of money, too bad. Maybe then everyone will use their dollars in a better manner.

  4. People think that just because they don’t see healines that read “Hundreds of State Employees Lose Jobs” that no state jobs are lost. Due to a hiring freeze, a lot of jobs aren’t filled as workers retire. Not to mention the closing of dozens of DNR offices, resulting in the displacement of workers. Every day state employees are asked to pick up more job responsibility and to help fill the gaps. I am a state employee, and I am happy to still have a job. I have been at-risk of losing my job due to re-organization and job cuts. But it seems like everyone thinks that we make tons of money. I make $10 less per hour that someone across town doing a similar job with less responsibilty. They also have a pension, health insurance, not to mention a safety shoe allowance that makes ours look like a joke. They also have more paid holidays.
    The one think I do have going for me is that if they cut my wage another 3-7% I will be able to get food stamps, heat assistance, and badger care.
    It’s time to stop blaming state workers for the defecit and take a harder look at where we can save, without hurting public services and education.

    1. Jobs that aren’t filled due to attrition don’t count as “hundreds of state employees losing jobs” because no person actually lost a job, only the beauracracy did.

      I often hear state employees saying the private sector is so much better. If that’s true, why don’t they go to the private sector? If that job across town you mention pays so much better and offers a good pension and health insurance as you say it does, why not go work there? No one is forcing you to stay in state service. “They also have more paid holidays” — really? What would those be? The state allows off MLK Day.

      1. Long time no see.

        To answer your question about why state employees don’t go to the private sector if it’s so much better, I can’t speak for all state employees, but what I’ll say about my job is that there’s not really any equivalent job to what I do in the private sector, so that’s not really an option.

        Ultimately, I do the job I do not because of the pay and/or benefits, but because I really love what I do, and I feel pretty lucky to have found a job that brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction.

        1. I guess my response was geared toward badgerfan who seemed to indicate there was an equivalent job across town that was much more lucrative that his/her current state job.

          Zach, I’m glad you have a job that you love and brings you satisfaction!

      2. I tried to get a job there…but if you think there is nepotism in government employment, try getting a job in a good paying job in a small town. They get holidays for deer season opener, day before thanksgiving, and easter.
        I am also happy for Zach, but I have my job to support my family. My response was merely to point out the publics misconception on what most state employees make. They hear about the upper level or the guy that is able to work a ton of overtime to boost his annual income and they assume that all state workers are lazy and overpaid.
        I know that some people in the private sector have made concessions (and we have to – 3% wage cut through furloughs in 2010 & again in 11). It’s a bad time for WI and the nation as far as the economy and job market go. But let’s not blame one group, when there is so much blame to go around.

        1. While I understand why some conservatives are quick to denigrate public sector workers as being lazy and overpaid, the fact is, there’s a lot of really great public sector employees out there who earn every bit of their paychecks. Granted, I’ve encountered my fair share of govt. workers who live up to the stereotype of lazy overpaid govt. workers, and I’d love to see those folks get canned, because they give the rest of us a bad name.

          If we want to get serious about cutting state jobs, we should start at the top and work our way down, instead of the other way around. There’s far too many bureaucrats in state employment, and those are the folks who really have little to no impact on providing services, unlike corrections officers, nurses, game wardens, etc. The point I’ve always tried to make is that it’s counterproductive to cut the frontline workers who provide services; instead cut the bureaucrats who are simply occupying an office.

          1. Zach, Thanks for commentary here on the bureaucracy, you are absolutely correct. We also have lot’s of duplication of services, within the State workers, but often the same duplicity at Federal, County and Municipal levels. Of course none of the branches want to face cuts, but all the money comes out of the same working people/ taxpayers pockets.

            Streamlining is beginning to occur at many levels of Govt. due to necessity, attrition and computerization. What needs to happen at nearly every level of Government is a “Wal-Mart” template. Control costs, staff, and delivery of a cost efficient final product to the “Customer”. I enjoy luxary, and finery when I can afford. But I don’t need it from my Govt.

            Just out of curiosity Zach what sort of job do you have?

          2. Totally agree Zach. I also work for the state. And I LOVE MY JOB! The salary is ok. We already got great benefits where I used to work. So these things for me mean nothing. The point is that there are lazy non-working employees in every business. The more workers you have, the more you can see those types of people. So let’s get rid of the jobs that you look at and say “does that person really have anything to do?” I agree start at the top. Make people prove why their job is useful. The problem is if hundreds of state employees lose jobs, there are more people on unemployment, less taxes, etc.

        2. badgerfan, so there’s nepotism in the private sector too… the deck is always stacked against you, isn’t it?

          You can’t expect taxpayers to foot the bill for paid “holidays” so state employees can go deer hunting or the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. As for Easter, I assume you mean Good Friday. Talk to the secular liberals about why you don’t have that day off. But quite honestly if you want any of those days off, I’m quite confident state employees get more vacation days, personal days, and sick time than their private sector counterparts.

          I also don’t find too many employers that offer fully paid pensions and no/minor health care deductibles. But what’s worse is the entitlement mentality when someone like Walker points out that some of these benefits are out of the line with the rest of the people in the state — the taxpayers that foot the bill for all of those benefits.

          Zach, I absolutely agree with you that the focus should be on cutting programs and bureaucrats and deadweight before the ones that actually provide services to the public. But also remember it’s the unions who were willing to let frontline workers be cut rather than have everyone accept across-the-board small pain of a furlough. They also balk at any minor concessions (paying a $20 minimal health care co-pay instead of nothing) which makes state employees look foolish and out of touch.

          1. Why is it that any time a state employee tries to argue the facts we are accused of whining or saying that the deck is stacked against us. I wasn’t indicating that we should get paid holidays for deer season, or any other than what we have now. I don’t get more vacation or personal time. Just because some blow hard politician or rogue reporter says that state employees have the best of everything doesn’t make it so. Do some work and get the facts.
            Of course the taxpayers (which, by the way, includes me and my co-workers)foot the bill…it’s public service, who should pay for it?
            We did accept the furlough because we were told if we didn’t it would lead to layoffs, and positions are still cut.
            No one likes the idea of a pay cut. But it would go a lot further if the politicians were willing to take a cut and quit the frivolous spending.

  5. Keep in mind that on page 23 of Barrett’s plan says,
    “Keeping compensation and sick/leave accrual for state employees in line with the
    private sector, including wages, health care, pension, retirement age, job security, and overtime pay. No one has done a careful study in Wisconsin to determine if total
    compensation of public employees is higher or lower than comparable private sector jobs. We should compare state government and market total compensation levels for specific job categories, and then negotiate with employee unions to bring total compensation in-line with the private sector.”

    1. John Schmitt is a Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington,
      DC did a study:
      “When state and local government employees are compared to private-sector workers with similar
      characteristics – particularly when workers are matched by age and education – state and local
      workers actually earn 4 percent less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts. For women
      workers, the public-sector penalty is about 2 percent of earnings; for men, it is about 6 percent of

  6. The unscrupulous lending practices of private-sector financial institutions trigger the worst recession in US history since the Great Depression, and government-sector employees are asked to foot the bill? Why should their families be asked to suffer and sacrifice, rather than, at the very least, sharing the burden with the rest of Wisconsin’s citizens? Let’s work together to try to find ways to cut wasteful spending and rebound Wisconsin’s economy, and not force underpaid, middle-class civil servants to bail us out.

  7. I am a professor at a state-run institution. I had to earn a doctorate, which cost me a lot of money, to keep my job. I hope those of you screaming that we state employees make too much money actually sit down and compare some numbers. I make far less than the average professor when compared to other states. The reason I haven’t left my job is that I don’t want to uproot my son. Before you start screaming about all those great benefits public employees have, do a little research. I’m not making it in my job as it is. If Mr. Walker wants me to pay for ALL my insurance and ALL my benefits, I will need to leave my job as will many, many other professors. Then your children won’t have good people to teach them in Wisconsin and you will have to send your children out of state for a college education, which will cost YOU a lot of money. Be careful what you wish for.

  8. My posistion is 100% federal funded and yet I have to take furloughs. All that money that the furlough “saved” went back to the federal system it wasn’t making interest sitting in the bank nor was it taxed it just went back to the federal government. Walker said he gave back $370,000(That is more then my take home for that same eight years)of his pay back to the county the only thing that tells me is that he is the one that is overpaid and is getting money under the table from the kind of people that caused this mess in the first place.

  9. People are giving Scott Walker way too much credit. He didn’t originate this fiasco and it has nothing to do with the budget.Walker is just another hood ornament put in office to do corporate bidding.
    While countries around the world are fighting to topple corrupt, oppressive one-party governments, with a one-two punch the extreme right wing of the GOP linked arm and arm with multibillion dollar corporations are attempting to turn this country into a one-party plutocracy.
    First, the conservative Supreme Court gave corporations citizenship status by allowing them to donate millions to their candidate of choice which, of course, consist of mostly candidates from the extreme right including Scott Walker. And despite the fact that much of it’s funding comes from Corps. out of the country the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was given the same green light. They gave Tea Party affiliate Ron Johnson’s campaign several hundred thousand dollars.
    What we are seeing now is the number 2 punch. These puppets are in the process of giving the left upper cut that is suppose to render a TKO to the last remaining stronghold of organized labor.
    If successful, the corporations will finally be rid of their nemesis, unions, and the GOP will have free political reign for generations to come.
    If middle America thinks the disparity between the rich and the rest of us in bad now, just wait. These demagogues have every intention of eliminating every bastion of public employment and then move to eliminate public support programs that have been safety nets for our most vulnerable for decades. If the people do not make a stand now, they better start tying their pant legs!

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