Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans. Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, creates the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not. Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.
This is purely an argument in semantics, yet it is sweeping the left in this state. First off, no, it does not come from state workers. The taxpayers of Wisconsin fund the compensation packages of this state's employees. There is no magic monkey who is grinding an organ on State Street (insert Assemblyman Hintz joke here) to create the money that goes to this compensation for employees. It comes from taxpayers. It is on the state budget.
Second, the author goes on to talk about deferred compensation. In doing so, he makes a false correlation between compensation and wages/salary. Your compensation is the sum of your wages/salary plus benefits. These monies clearly fall under "benefits". These monies would not fall to anyone's salary/wages if they were suddenly ceased. They would disappear from their compensation packages. When my employer cut 401k matching and when they increased my share of health care, they did decrease my total compensation. State and local workers are going to face a decrease in total compensation, yes. That's THE WHOLE POINT. The state needs to pay its bills by saving money. But they are trying to reduce (not eliminate) the impact on the cash flow of these employees as a whole.
Third, I'm really beginning to think the budget repair plan didn't go far enough. Too many people are living in la-la land. Give them a 401K with no match. They can drop out completely to save money that way (also known as cutting off the nose to spite the face). Let them pay the state average insurance premiums paid in the private sector. Remove their civil service protections. Let them see what it is like out here in the real world so they can ponder whether all of this was really, really worth it.