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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Day One of the Era of Union Reform

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And it's already paying off. Some details from the Governor's office:


Madison – With Act 10’s reform now law, Wisconsin is beginning to see its benefits.  Another state, Connecticut, is facing thousands of layoffs after unions rejected budget saving measures.

Example 1: Racine County

Now with Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining changes going into effect today, County Executive Jim Ladwig said inmates will be able to perform more tasks such as landscaping, painting, and shoveling sidewalks in the winter.

“We have a win-win when we use the inmates,” Ladwig said. “It gives them a sense of value they are helping the community.” At the same time, he said it will help the county maintain property that has been neglected.

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Example 2: Kaukauna School District

According to the district, changes “will allow the District to hire additional teachers, reduce projected class sizes from 26 to 23 students at the elementary level, 28 students to 26 students at the intermediate/middle level, and 31 students to 25 students at the high school level.  In addition, time will be available for staff to identify and support students needing individual assistance through individual and small group experiences.

“Due to the law change the District’s projected operating budget has moved from a negative $400,000 to approximately a positive $1,500,000.  Earmarked in the operating budget are $300,000 related to merit pay, a program being explored for all staff by the district for the 2011-2012 school year.”

Connecticut – Yesterday

Gov. Daniel P. Malloy proposed nearly 5,500 layoffs and the elimination of another 1,000 unfilled positions Tuesday at a time when the state's unemployment rate is 9.1 percent.

The budget-cutting proposal also includes the closure of the minimum-security Bergin Correctional Institution in Mansfield that houses inmates near the end of their sentences and those convicted of multiple counts of drunken driving. The prison currently has 218 staff members, and layoff notices would start going out later this week, officials said.

Read More  More: Besides layoffs and program cuts, Malloy's plan now includes reducing aid to the state's 169 cities and towns by a combined $54 million per year for two years. That translates into a cut averaging 2.4 percent in the state's grants to cities and towns.

The largest hit, in raw numbers, went to the Department of Correction, with a reduction of more than 1,000 positions...

More: As the state budget crisis has continued, Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield noted that Moody's Investor Service revised its outlook on the state's general obligation bond rating to negative from stable.



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