Though Wisconsin’s efforts to rein in spending and the power of government-employee unions have dominated media coverage of state politics in recent weeks, Ohio is considering similar measures to close an estimated $8 billion budget deficit that could have an even broader impact on collective bargaining and public-sector workers.
After almost a month of intense protests failed to intimidate elected Republican officials into backing down, some union bosses and socialist agitators are ramping up calls for an illegal general strike in Wisconsin to battle a bill limiting the collective bargaining privileges of government employees.
After both houses of the Wisconsin legislature voted to approve a reform bill limiting some bargaining privileges of powerful government-sector unions, protesters exploded in a furious rage that included numerous reports of death threats to Republican lawmakers, breaking of windows at the Capitol building, mass chaos, and more.
The Wisconsin Senate caused an uproar after splitting its budget-repair legislation into two parts to be able to pass government-union reform provisions even without the Democratic state senators, all of whom fled to Illinois weeks ago in an effort block the proposal by preventing the super-majority quorum required for fiscal votes.
After spending more than three weeks in Illinois seeking to block a Republican reform bill aimed at reining in a multi-billion dollar deficit and the powerful government-sector unions, at least some of Wisconsin’s 14 missing Democratic state Senators could be preparing to return to Madison, according to news reports.
Pro- and anti-reform activists in Wisconsin are seeking to recall state Senators over Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to rein in spending and the powerful government-employee unions that have been protesting the measure for more than three weeks. The efforts are drawing support and money from across the nation as conservative and liberal groups, along with a battery of unions, urge their members and supporters to get involved.
Despite weeks of hysteria by some demonstrators over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed reforms, the truth is that the state is facing a very real budget crisis — billions and billions of dollars in deficits and unfunded liabilities — and the reforms being pursued by Republicans are hardly radical.
A coalition of government-union members, socialists, and other protesters — some of whom were bussed in from out of state — raucously invaded Madison, Wisconsin, beginning on February 16, to demonstrate against a budget bill backed by Republican Governor Scott Walker.
Democratic Wisconsin state senators who fled to Illinois in an effort to block a vote on Republicans’ budget-repair proposal could be in hot water if they don’t come back to work — the legislature voted to hold them in contempt and send law enforcement out to get them. Government-employee layoffs are also imminent if the missing State Senators do not return, according to Gov. Scott Walker.