Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wisconsin Poised to Sell Vacant “Staff” Parking Spaces at Schools and Public Buildings

MADISON, Wis. -- As the United States watched the standoff over union rights unfold in Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers in the state brought the matter to an abrupt close Thursday, preparing to strip virtually all collective bargaining rights from public workers. Opponents called the decision one of the most powerful blows to unions in years. Governor Scott Walker praised the Budget Repair Bill as a boon to both the state and its many businesses.

In order to pass the bill, Senate Republicans outmaneuvered their absent Democratic peers by invoking a rare procedural tactic that removed all spending measures from the collective bargaining legislation, and allowed them to proceed with the vote alone.

The leader of Wisconsin’s Senate Democrats, Matt Miller, issued the following statement immediately following the vote: “In thirty minutes, 18 State Senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten. Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people. Tomorrow we will join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government.”

But Governor Scott Walker has argued since the beginning of the debate that the provisions of the bill -- which include the collective bargaining cuts, pay slashes, increased benefit contributions from employees, and pension reform -- are necessary to the state’s ability to balance its budget.

“People who don’t understand this bill can complain all they want,” Walker reportedly told colleagues. “But the fact is, we’re creating new revenue streams that will assist the state. With the glut of newly vacant ‘Staff’ parking spaces in schools and public facilities, we can lease those lots out at a premium to restaurants, retailers, theaters, you name it. Wisconsin needs capital, and we sure aren’t generating any from teachers and public works employees. They just cost. When this is all said and done, I think they’ll come to realize that they can make the same money at Walmart and at least contribute to the economy without burdening tax payers.”