Comments Regarding the Budget Repair Bill.
Over the past few weeks I have received a great deal of comments, questions, and concerns from thousands of citizens regarding this important piece of legislation. I am sorry for the delay in response, but I assure you that I took all the concerns of my constituents into account prior to voting last week.
To put it simply, Wisconsin is broke. No longer can we as a state spend more than we take in. The breaking point has finally reached us. The citizens of Wisconsin cannot be burdened by tax hikes and government spending to fix the problems that were created by past administrations.
There is no doubt that public employees are hardworking individuals that contribute a great wealth of knowledge and ingenuity to Wisconsin and this bill is not meant as a punishment to them. However, in the private sector when revenue decreases, employees are asked to take pay cuts and other concessions to avoid layoffs. We are asking for concessions from public employees that are in line with the private sector.
The Budget Repair Bill that was introduced by Governor Walker is the first step in the process of balancing the budget without raising taxes. Also this legislation does not take away some of the strongest civil service protections in the country that will protect teachers other state employees.
Although many public sector union members are now willing to sit down and discuss these issues, we simply do not have the time nor do we have the resources to re-open negotiations on existing contracts. Over the past decade, we have seen contract negotiations last on average 15 months and we simply do not have that kind of time right now.
As I previously stated, Wisconsin is in a serious fiscal crisis and I stand firm in my commitment to making the tough decisions for the present and the future. Wisconsinites were heard loud and clear this past November and it is time to bring fiscal responsibility to Madison.
I hope that I get a chance to speak to all of you soon and should you have any questions or concerns don't hesitate to contact my office and either myself or my staff will able to assist you.