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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

While The Country Watched Wisconsin, California Voters Backed Pension Cuts For City Workers

By Susan Duclos

As Conservatives have maintained, the battle in Wisconsin  was just the beginning as Liberals, Unions, Democratic party officials and Barack Obama all prayed for Governor Scott Walker to be recalled after passing some of the most aggressive budget reforms which required public union workers to pay more for their pensions, more towards their health costs and limiting their collective bargaining power to bring their compensations more in line with private sectors employees compensations.

These reforms, as Conservatives continue to remind voters, were passed into law to turn a deficit ridden state around to one that projects a surplus, doing so without raising taxes or trashing public services or forcing layoffs.

As everyone watching at this point knows, Scott Walker defeated the recall effort with a 7 percentage point margin over the Democratic candidate. Wisconsin voters understood that reforms were required in order to prevent the state from failing and becoming bankrupt.

Last night in California, while political pundits were focusing on Wisconsin, voters in two California cities followed Wisconsin's example.

Via NYT:

As Wisconsin residents voted on Tuesday not to recall Gov. Scott Walker — who has become an enemy of labor unions nationwide — two California cities dealt blows of their own to organized labor.

In San Diego and San Jose, voters overwhelmingly approved ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers.

Around 70 percent of San Jose voters favored the pension measure, while 66 percent of San Diego residents supported a similar measure.

"This is really important to our taxpayers," Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose, said Tuesday night. "We’ll get control over these skyrocketing retirement costs and be able to provide the services they are paying for."

It isn't often readers here at Wake up America will see this because I rarely quote talk radio, nothing against Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck or others, I just don't listen to talk radio at all, but I ran across something Rush Limbaugh said on his show today, so I googled his site to grab the exact quote and it is spot on:

Doesn't this victory last night by Scott Walker mean that states all over the country now have another choice when it comes to dealing with fiscal emergencies? They don't have to raise taxes. States do not have to lay off people. They don't have to go bankrupt. The federal taxpayer does not have to bail out these states. There's now another choice. The states can trim a little fat from their public sector union contracts, which is always their biggest expense. Isn't that good news?

There is way here that's been lighted. This ought to be joy. In the real world, where we're in fiscal trouble -- serious fiscal trouble -- here is a state which has shown a way out of it. I know. I'm whistling Dixie here because, as I said yesterday, the left doesn't care about that. They don't care about fiscal responsibility or sanity. They don't care about balanced budgets. They don't care about any of that. It's why there's no compromise with them.

States across the country are suffering from deficits and without reforms they risk massive layoffs, services ending because there is no money to fund them anymore, tax increases, but with common sense reforms those deficits can be dealt with as Wisconsin proved without a doubt by turning their fiscal situation around from a $3.6 billion deficit to a $1.5 million surplus, without raising taxes, without ripping apart services and without massive layoffs, by simply requiring public union employees to pay "their fair share" to use an expression Obama uses all the time to insist that tax increases are required to lower the nation's deficit.

For the record, Wisconsin budget reforms still left public union employee compensations "around 22 percent for state workers over private sector workers, with varying but often larger pay advantages for local government employees."