Rep. Mursau reacts to Budget Repair Bill - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rep. Mursau reacts to Budget Repair Bill


MADISON (PRESS RELEASE)--In a marathon legislative session lasting more than 62 consecutive hours, Representative Jeff Mursau (R – Crivitz) and the Wisconsin State Assembly approved Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill Friday morning. The legislation cuts state spending $137 million, an amount roughly equal to the shortfall in state revenues, and reforms the collective bargaining process for state, local and school union employees in Wisconsin.

Mursau made the following comments on a number of different issues surrounding the bill:

State Senators in Illinois

"The 14 State Senate Democrats were hired by the people of Wisconsin to do a job in Madison," Mursau said. "They deserve the same regard as any other government employee abandoning their post: disciplinary action. It's up to their bosses, the voters, to determine what that disciplinary action should be."

"I find it amazing Senator Jim Holperin wanted a few protesters outside his hotel to go away because he was ‘at work' and needed ‘to do that without distraction," Mursau said. "Speaking with protesters isn't a distraction, it is our job."

"I had thousands of people protesting in Madison and I got my work done."


Public Input

 "I welcomed the opportunity to hear from hundreds of Northeast Wisconsin citizens on both sides of the issue over the past two weeks, unlike what happened two years when Democrats in complete control and they raised taxes $1.2 billion in two days with no public hearings whatsoever."

Pension & Health Insurance

"I'm happy to hear the unions start talking about contributing more towards pension and healthcare," Mursau said. "While some individual local unions made these concessions years ago, too many across Wisconsin dragged their feet and in order to get them committed to it, the collective bargaining statutes have to change to ensure more than just lip service to taxpayers."

Collective Bargaining

"This bill does not eliminate collective bargaining, it limits it to the topic of wages and salaries and still ensures worker rights through Wisconsin's Civil Service System."

 "The average contract negotiation lasts 15 months, duplicates protections as well as costs above Wisconsin's Civil Service System," Mursau said. "Local government and schools are about to see cuts in state aid and they need this flexibility to deal with those cuts by finding similar though less costly health insurance for their employees and they need to be able to do it in less than 15 months."

"Collective bargaining for state employees was suggested by Governor Gaylord Nelson in 1959 to increase the chances for the success by his political party in the 1960 elections. If the legislature had intended to make it a ‘right' it would have placed it in the state Constitution, not state statutes It was created at a time of post World War II economic prosperity. The severe economic downturn warrants its elimination, since we still have the Civil Service System on the books."


Wisconsin's Civil Service System

"In 1905, Wisconsin created the most comprehensive civil service systems in the nation for hiring, retaining, promoting and dismissing government employees based on objective employee assessments," Mursau said." The system, improved in 1925 and 1935, is still in place and available to all local units of government and schools."

"Hiring decisions will be merit based and removal from the service must be based on just cause," Mursau said. "More information about the civil service system is available from my website and office for anyone interested."


"This bill lets the state save taxpayer money by refinancing debt it incurred through bonding for building and transportation projects as well as Stewardship land acquisitions." Mursau said. "Because of the time it takes to refinance, though, those savings can only be realized to fix the current budget if the Senate passes the bill by Friday."

Potential Layoffs

"The last thing Wisconsin families need is a bunch of former state employees competing for scarce job opportunities," Mursau said. "The last thing taxpayers need is to borrow even more money from the US government and China to keep Wisconsin's unemployment fund afloat."

"If the Senate doesn't pass this bill by Friday, the savings in refinancing our state debt will be impossible to achieve before the end of the fiscal year and Governor Walker will have no other choice than to lay off at least  1,500 state employees," Mursau said. "If the bill fails to pass the Senate before April 1, that number balloons to at least 6,000."

Up Next

"After the State Senate acts, government workers will contribute more money to their pensions and health insurance, now it's time for state and local governments to prepare for eliminating the rest of the $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-2013 budget set to start July 1," Mursau said. "This will impact the average citizen much more than this budget repair bill did."

"I hope people of northeast Wisconsin continue to stay in touch with me as we work together to right our fiscal ship while protecting, the best we realistically can, those who cannot protect themselves."

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