Scott Walker Admits Union-Busting Provision ‘Doesn’t Save Any’ Money For The State Of Wisconsin

Rep. Dennis Kucinich deserves all the praise for this one…

Think Progress

Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called Govs. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Peter Shumlin (D-VT) to testify in a hearing titled “State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead.” Much of the hearing was spent probing Wisconsin’s spate of anti-union restrictions it recently passed.

At one point, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) confronted Walker about his crackdown on public employee unions. The congressman referenced a provision Walker signed into law that would require union members to vote every year to continue their membership. Kucinich asked the governor how much money the state would save from the provision. Walker repeatedly dodged the question and eventually admitted that it actually wouldn’t save anything at all.

Kucinich then asked Walker how much money would be saved by barring union dues from being drawn from employee paychecks, another provision of Walker’s legislation. Walker claimed that it would save workers money, but was unable to explain how it would save the state any money. Kucinich then produced a document from the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state’s equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office, that concluded that Walker’s measures were “nonfiscal” — meaning they had no impact on the state’s finances. Kucinich asked that the letter be included in the public record, but Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) refused:

Walker’s admission is crucial because he had long claimed that his anti-union “budget repair bill” was designed to save the state money, not bust unions. But his words today echo those of Wisconsin state senate leader Scott Fitzgerald (R), who last month effectively admitted that the union fights are not about budgetary issues, but rather about winning the next election by depleting the ranks of organized labor.

H/t YankeeClipper:

Wisconsin Union Law Should Be Considered By State Supreme Court: Appeals Court Rules

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin appeals court says the state Supreme Court should decide whether a law that takes away nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers should be allowed to take effect.

A majority of the seven-member Supreme Court must agree to take it or it would remain in the appeals court.

The 4th District Court of Appeals said Thursday it is appropriate for the state’s highest court to take the case because it presents significant issues that are likely to end up before the Supreme Court anyhow.

A Dane County judge issued an order last week preventing Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, saying Republicans violated the state open meetings law when passing it.

The Suicide Of The Republican Party

Keith Olbermann’s FOK (Friends of Keith) News

Still having never learned to be calm, retract their claws, and sit around and act rationally in a situation that calls for panic, Wisconsin’s Republicans and their Corporate Puppeteers tonight guaranteed themselves an unprecedented and disastrous recall next January.

More over, they also guaranteed themselves that any cloak of stealth under which they have operated in their attacks on teachers, firefighters, policemen, unions, and the settled law of collective bargaining, has been stripped away. If you pass a supposedly urgent “budget repair” bill with key budget components cut from it, you forfeit the fiction that you are doing anything remedial, anything essential, anything except a naked power grab on behalf of corporations who will get the money stolen from organized labor – civic or private.

And further, when you accomplish all this by parliamentary trick – after your national party has spent two years and more decrying Congressional reconciliation – when you deny the minority the right to participate in the outcome whether by compromise or protest, you cut through the cacophony of political-speak in this country and you transmit your sneering indifference towards democracy to ordinary citizens who do not normally pay attention.     More…

Edit: (Emphasis are mine)

20 lies (and counting) told by Gov. Walker

Russ’ Filtered News gave us the very popular An Open Letter To Conservatives and Muslims In America: The Shocking TruthNow it seems Russ has done it again with his new post entitled: 20 lies (and counting) told by Gov. Walker.

Here is an excerpt from Russ’ latest post:

We’re used to politicians stretching the truth, but the level of deception and dishonesty Wisconsin’s governor has exhibited in the battle over his union-busting budget repair bill (even the name is a falsehood) sinks to astounding new lows.  What follows are the 20 lies I’ve identified in a quick review of the record.  If you find or recall others, please let me know.  We’ll keep updating.Walker: His bill is about fixing a budget crisis.

The truth: Even Fox News’ Shepherd Smith couldn’t swallow that one, declaring that it’s all about politics and union busting, and “to pretend that this is about a fiscal crisis in the state of Wisconsin is malarkey.”

Walker: says he campaigned on his budget repair plan, including curtailing collective bargaining.

“We introduced a measure last week, a measure I ran on during the campaign, a measure I talked about in November during the transition, a measure I talked about in December when we fought off the employee contracts, an idea I talked about in the inauguration, an idea I talked about in the state of the state. If anyone doesn’t know what’s coming, they’ve been asleep for the past two years.”

The truth: Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the sketchiest outline of his far-reaching  plans to kill collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did.  In fact, he was caught on tape boasting to what he thought was his billionaire backer that he had “dropped the bomb.”

Walker: keeps saying that “almost all” of the protesters at the Capitol are from outside the state

The truth: “The vast majority of people protesting are from here — Wisconsin and even more from Dane County,” said Joel DeSpain, public information officer for the Madison Police Department.

Walker: He wants to negotiate.

The truth: He won’t negotiate, but he’ll pretend to so he can trick the 14 Dem senators into allowing a vote on his bill. Walker recently offered to actually sit down and speak with the minority leader – something he should have done anyway and long ago – but only if the rest of the senators came back with him. Why?

“…legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have a quorum because they started out that way…But that would be the only, if you heard that I was going to talk to them, that would be the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them. And my sense is, hell, I’ll talk to them. If they want to yell at me for an hour, you know, I’m used to that, I can deal with that. But I’m not negotiating.”     More…

Scott Walker Ethics Complaint Filed By Wisconsin Democrats Over Statements Made On Prank Call

Huffington Post

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has filed an ethics complaint against Republican Gov. Scott Walker over statements he made during a recorded prank call.

In their complaint filed Monday with the Government Accountability Board, the Democrats claim Walker violated campaign finance laws by apparently asking for support for politically vulnerable Wisconsin Republican lawmakers from a caller who he thought was a wealthy campaign donor.

Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie, calls the allegations baseless.

The call to Walker was made by a left-leaning website. The caller claimed to be David Koch, one of two billionaire brothers who donate heavily to conservative causes.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said last week that he found nothing about Walker’s statements to merit a criminal investigation. He says he hasn’t examined allegations of campaign finance violations.

Wisconsin Democrats to End Exile

The Daily Beast

Wisconsin’s riveting game of political chicken is nearing its end: The state’s senate Democrats said Sunday they will soon return and allow a vote on a union-restricting bill they had stymied by fleeing to Illinois. Republican Governor Scott Walker would then be able to pass his “budget-repair” bill, which curbs unions’ collective-bargaining rights, through the GOP-led chamber. The fleeing senators’ stance galvanized thousands of pro-union protesters who for weeks flooded Madison’s capitol building with demonstrations, which the Democrats said will give them new leverage to seek changes to the anti-union bill. They also said the bill is so unpopular with voters that they expect it to taint Walker and his Republican majority.

UPDATE: Coming home? Wis. Dem says not yet

One of the 14 Wisconsin Democratic senators exiled in Illinois in protest of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget refuted a report late Sunday night indicating Democrats would return “soon” to Madison, ending a weeks-long stalemate.

Sen. Chris Larson attacked via Facebook a Wall Street Journal report based on quotes from Minority Leader Mark Miller, saying the publication “fished for the quote they wanted” and emphasizing that Democrats will not return until Walker takes the elimination collective bargaining for most public workers off the table.

“Sen. Miller’s comments are taken out of context in the Wall Street Journal article just released. Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table. That could be soon based on the growing public opposition to the bill and the recall efforts against Republicans,” Larson wrote “Unfortunately, the WSJ fished for the quote they wanted, skipping this key step in logic: We won’t come back until workers’ rights are preserved.”  

The newspaper reported Sunday that Miller — who has been camped out in Illinois since Feb. 17 along with the other members of his caucus — is planning to return to Wisconsin, though “declined to say how soon.  Continue reading here…

Related Articles

Walker’s Budget Slashes Medicaid, While Increasing Funeral Assistance For Destitute Who Die

This is a sad state of affairs.  Whats worse is that there is no lobbyists for the poor and or destitute in Wisconson or elsewhere…

Think Progress

For weeks, Wisconsin has been the site of an intense battle between a Main Street Movement consisting of middle class Wisconsinites and a radical push by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and his allies to strip most of the state’s public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

One of the lesser-known assaults on working class people in Walker’s most recent legislative push is his attempt to override federal Medicaid laws to place the state’s subsidized health care system, BadgerCare, under the control of the state’s Health and Human Services office, and then proceed to slash its budget and throw thousands of people off the rolls.

As In These Times’s Lindsay Beyerstein notes, this new provision in the budget is coupled with another policy which seems darkly ironic when seen alongside these Medicaid cuts. The Walker budget “recommends increasing payments to counties to cover the costs of burying Wisconsinites who die destitute” — one of the few major increases in spending to be found in the document. Indeed, on page 248 of the governor’s Health and Human Services budget, Walker recommends an “increase” in “funeral and cemetery aids”:

Yesterday, a “coalition of public-and private-sector unions is holding a jazz funeral for the welfare state in Wisconsin,” complete with a New Orleans-style procession. “If he’s going to let let them die, he’d better beef up the cemeteries,” said protest organizer Jean Ross, a co-president of co-president of National Nurses United, of Walker. “The man has no heart.”

Update:    The Badger-Herald filed a video report from the scene of the funeral procession. Watch it

Scott Walker’s Budget Bans Birth Control Coverage And Eliminates Access To Health Care Services For Women

The right-wing’s over-reaching agenda is going to make more Americans wake up to the nightmare called corporatism.

Think Progress

In the midst of fighting his union-busting crusade, Wisconsin’s embattled Gov. Scott Walker (R) unveiled his budget on Tuesday. Insisting on balancing the budget without raising taxes or fees, Walker proposed a two-year plan in which he expects students, participants in the SeniorCare prescription drug plan, poor families receiving health care or welfare, and local schools to make sacrifices. As one state lawmaker put it, his $900 million cut in state aid to schools is “an absolute annihilation” of public education. But targeting students, teachers, seniors, and poor people is not enough. He is also proposing to repeal Wisconsin’s Contraceptive Equity Law because, apparently for Walker, a budget also has to attack women’s health:

Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would repeal a state law requiring insurance companies cover prescription birth control.

Walker’s budget released Tuesday would undo the law signed in 2009 by his Democratic predecessor Gov. Jim Doyle. Passage of the bill, which took effect last year, came after more than a decade of trying by Democrats.

The mandate had been fought by anti-abortion groups and Catholics but supported by Planned Parenthood and public health groups.


Scott Walker: That Man Is An Idiot

Keith Olbermann’s Blog – Fok News – March 1, 2011

Good grief, how many stupid people do we have in this country? And how come we keep electing them as Republican governors?

In a had-to-be-seen-to-be-believed budget speech this afternoon, Wisconsin’s pet rock of a chief executive, Scott Walker, barely touched on the firestorm that has put his slightly cross-eyed, startled-looking mug on the national map. Absent were references to violating court orders to keep the Capitol open to protesters. No mention was made of unilateral decisions to bolt the Capitol windows shut. There wasn’t a word in there about the no-holds-barred campaign to demonize the Unions as if they were al-Qaeda. Only in passing – by referencing those Democrats who interrupted the knee-capping of collective bargaining rights – did Walker even come close to mentioning the issue that his lit up the night sky of America’s Dairyland.

In short, Walker’s speech sounded about as in-touch and pertinent as one of Hosni Mubarak’s. No; check that; Mubarak eventually got it. When it comes to tone-deaf speechifying (not, obviously, bloodshed), Walker is closer to Colonel Gadaffi.        Read more »

Even The Media Began To Sit Up And Take Notice

FOK News – Keith Olbermann’s Blog

New media’s role in Egypt was a little overrated – how much tweeting and facebooking was actually done when the dictator could just shut off the internet?

But could new media’s role in Wisconsin be underrated? From which news organization do you think I’m cribbing this most impressive shot most fully capturing the impact of the latest 70,000+ protest in the snow in Madison? ABC? CNN? FOX?

Correct, none of the above.

This is from the twitter feed of Kevin Kopplin. Not to say mainstream media is completing whiffing on today’s latest outpouring of Democracy (see The Wisconsin State Journal) – just the national media.

If your minimum daily requirement for cliches isn’t fulfilled by ‘the story this photo tells you’, there’s a more metaphorical version later on, plus a literally unbelievable follow-up to the case of the Georgia Congressman who either chuckled or stared blanks when he was asked who was going to shoot the President.

Read more »