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Wisconsin's Spirit: Courage for Other States to Emulate

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Michigan Republican Governor Rick Synder wants $180 million in state worker concessions through higher healthcare contributions and other benefit cuts.

Connecticut Democrat Governor Daniel Malloy demands more draconian cuts than Walker's. He wants state workers to bear the brunt of the state's $1 billion shortfall, amounting to an average $20,000 employee haircut annually in 2011 and 2012 through a combination of wage and benefit cuts. By comparison, Walker demands $300 million in savings.

New Hampshire's Democrat Governor John Lynch wants 10% of state workers cut over the next two years, eliminating 1,100 jobs, as well as other proposed savings.

Colorado Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper wants the biggest K-12 education cut in state history. He also proposes hikes in state worker pension contributions, from 2.5 - 4.5%, and a third year with no pay increases.

In January, Democrat Governor Jerry Brown proposed far more draconian cuts than former Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger to resolve the state's $24.5 billion shortfall. Included are large reductions in welfare, child healthcare, Medicaid, higher education, other public services, and state worker pay and benefits, including pensions. In addition, he wants six bargaining units to remain on three day per month furloughs at least through mid-year and likely longer.

Campaigning, Brown promised to "invest in jobs and the working families who make California strong." As governor, he's waging war against them.

So isn't New York Democract Governor Andrew Cuomo, declaring the state "functionally bankrupt....there is no money, (so) painful choices" involve draconian cuts affecting working households most, including state employees bearing the burden like elsewhere.

Facing a $10 billion 2011 shortfall and an estimated $14 billion 2012 one, he wants 10% cuts for state agencies, requiring layoffs as well as comparable pay and benefit cuts. Healthcare and education are also targeted, including Medicaid. According to Daniel Sisto, Healthcare Association of New York State president, he wants "the largest cut to healthcare services in New York State's history" with more planned ahead.

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Demanding lower future labor costs, expect more layoffs besides 34,700 lost federal, state and local government jobs in 2010. With over $2 billion less 2011 New York city aid, 6,000 teacher jobs are at risk. Those remaining face draconian cuts on top of previous ones imposed and those from Albany.

At the same time, Cuomo pledged no tax increases on wealthy New Yorkers able to pay more. Moreover, he'll let a so-called "millionaire's tax" surcharge on earnings above $200,000 expire at year end, losing a badly needed $1 billion annually. 

Presently, wage freezes are in effect for all state workers, pending contract negotiations expiring on March 31 in which he's seeking $450 million in concessions.

Florida Governor Rick Scott wants state workers to pay 5% of their salaries for pensions and have their healthcare benefits capped, despite annual exponential cost increases workers will have to pay themselves. He also proposes 8,700 job cuts. In addition, legislation was  introduced, requiring state workers sign up annually for union membership and prohibiting the current dues check off provision.

The Tennessee Republican-controlled legislature backs a bill to repeal a 1978 law, requiring collective bargaining in local school districts where most teachers support the Tennessee Education Association (TEA).

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Idaho's Tom Luna, Superintendent of Public Instruction wants 750 teachers cut and collective bargaining ended for issues like class size, workload and promotions. Legislative measures also propose ending tenure and seniority as factors affecting layoffs. As a result, angry teacher protests rallied in Boise and across the state.

In New Jersey, future presidential aspirant Republican Governor Chris Christie allied with Democrat Senate President Stephen Sweeney to make public workers pay more for healthcare and pension benefits. 

They want healthcare contributions raised from 8 to 30% of costs. State payments for employee pensions will also be withheld for the second straight year unless benefits are sharply reduced by increasing the retirement age and ending cost-of-living adjustments.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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