1. Walkers cuts to sexual assult victims

    Walkers cuts to sexual assault victims compensation shows his true heartlessness.He cut $200,000 from an already underfunded program.If that wasn’t enough,he wanted to make further cuts causing job losses at the (D.O.J.) I have a daughter who is a victim of sexual assault. This program has saved her from bankruptcy and gave her a life line while waiting two and one half years to win a fight with social security disability.Walkers cruelty to the Wisconsin people is unforgivable.

  2. My husband and I are both civil servants.  The State has been hit the hardest.  That’s for certain; but, Act 10 has opened the door for both the County and the City to follow suit and infiltrate our paychecks with substantial pay cuts and decreased benefits that have been hitting us in waves.  Already, this past January we have lost what equates to two weeks’ worth of grocery money for us and when all is said and done, by 2014, we stand to lose a total of what will most likely be a 24% reduction in net pay.  That total is comprised of the 6% loss he’s suffered already and when my current contract expires in 2014 I will be paying that much PLUS, most likely, the going rate for health insurance contributions of 12% for a grand total of a whopping 24% pay reduction between the both of us.  Like the rest of public union employees, we haven’t had a substantial pay increase that can even begin to keep up with the cost of inflation and skyrocketing costs of living expenses.  No one could possibly have foreseen or prepared for the sweeping financial devastation of Act 10 to families like ours.  Our benefit packages were negotiated in good faith by our unions in exchange for the hits we’ve weathered in wage reductions and wage freezes for years now.   Further, the added threat now poised to diminish the State’s retirement fund with the changes being discussed by the current administration only darkens the dwindling hope of ever achieving the retirement we have hoped and worked for these past 20 years.  We’ve lost $22,000 in home equity and can only hope to break even if we were try and sell our home to survive the large pay reduction we will most likely be facing in the next year and a half. 

    To make matters worse, we’ve lost all hope in seeking compensation for what was blatant medical negligence these past few years with the adoption of TORT reform signed into legislation last year.  My husband nearly lost his life on four occasions due to misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis; not to mention unspeakable pain and agony all during that time.  I lost most of my hard-earned sick time and all credibility at work due to my frequent absences.  Without union representation, I would have been left completely on my own to defend myself against the heartless treatment I was subjected to at work.  Under TORT reform legislation, we have no hope of ever seeking compensation for any of the physical or mental duress we have suffered.

    The lies and shady politics by this administration have caused fractures in our family that will probably never be fully healed.  Unfortunately, some people who aren’t struggling to survive the damage this current wave of damaging legislation is causing are unable to fully comprehend the full scope of the harm that has been inflicted on us or the potential of the harm it will cause all of us.

    Thank you for this opportunity to express what this has all done to my family and me.

  3. It began one year ago in Wisconsin.
    High Res

    It began one year ago in Wisconsin.

  4. I feel like we’re in Fitzwalkerstan. And I’m not sure what the next set of rules are going to be because we don’t follow rules anymore in this building.
    Rep. Mark Pocan
    March 10th, 2011
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  7. Living in Fitzwalkerstan

    Before Act 10 my family and I were living check to check, but we were getting by.  Since the implementation of Act 10 I have almost had my car repossessed, I have to start going to the food pantry regularly and I have to worry about impending bills for taking my children to the doctor.

    Before Act 10 I knew that I most likely wouldn’t get a raise, but I knew that I would not have to pay more into my health insurance and that would offset it.  Now I have to pay a co-insurance, $1000 for family. Did you know that equals an approximate $.48/hr pay cut on top of the over $300 that is taken out for health insurance and retirement? So when my child wakes up and has a sore throat and I take them to the doctor I will have a bill.  I don’t know what that bill is until it comes in the mail.  I have never had to worry about that before.  The added stress of that is almost unbearable at times.

    Before Act 10 I had gone out and gotten a second job at a local pizza place just so we could maybe have a little balance in the checkbook between paychecks.  That job has now become a necessity.

    Before Act 10 I got to see my kids pretty much every day.  Now I feel like a parent who only has custody every other weekend.  I feel like I am always at work.  I am working so my kids can have a good life, but I shouldn’t have to work this hard, no one should.

     Leah Lipska
     Mount Horeb, WI

  8. Empty Tables

    Our day begins with a trip to our local restaurant to meet with friends for coffee. We are well aware of the decrease in the number of customers at breakfast over this last year.  Tables empty; fewer in the booths. And, worse the reduction from full to part time employment for the wait staff. 

    Around our table we pretty much agree that changes had to be made in the way we manage the public’s business. What is hard to come to grips with is that while substantial cuts were made in school and municipal aids, Walker compounded the damage by cutting taxes for Wis. Corporations and banks.  And thus the Nevada subsidiary was reborn which  increased income to corporations.  And this to reward “job creators” so they will come to Wisconsin. 

    But unfortunately, it turns out that job creators are customers. As customers disappear from our resturant jobs disappear. So, now, we are in our 7th month of job loss in Wisconsin.

    We know we had to make do with less.  But that’s no excuse to cripple the public and service sectors while giving the Nevada subsidiary tax break to Wisconsin Box stores and banks. 

    Gof Thomson
    Green County, WI

  9. Barriers to a strong workforce

    " I teach Sociology at Madison College and I’m a member of the part-time workers union, AFT Local 6100. Madison College instructors preform a service that is vital to Wisconsin’s future. We train the state’s workforce - not only police and firefighters, but also biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and healthcare. Unfortunately, Governor Walker cut $34.2 million from the Wisconsin’s Technical College System in the biennial budget, while there are already long student waiting lists for the most desirable fields. These budget cuts build barriers to ensuring sufficient capacity and maintaining a strong workforce pipeline. The Wisconsin Uprising continues and we will not only restore our collective bargaining rights, but also create a new progressive era for Wisconsin."

    Sarah Manski
    Madison, WI

  10. What happened to local control?

    "Our township has successfully managed its costs for decades, and we have one of the lowest mill rates in the county. In fact, we were good enough at financial management that we lowered our mill rate several years ago.  We didn’t need the money at that point, and we figured we could raise it again if we had to do so.  But the Budget Repair Bill effectively precludes us from raising our mill rate in the future, no matter how low it is now or our future needs.  I guess we’ll have to throw a bake sale.
    Worse yet, the Budget Repair Bill threw a monkey wrench into our township’s employee relations.  Our employees, who are non-union, have not had a raise in several years, with the understanding that the township would continue to pay for health insurance, the cost of which is rising, and make pension contributions, in lieu of a raise. The Budget Repair Bill put an end to that arrangement, mandating that our township employees pay a higher percentage of both health care costs and pension contributions, while precluding the township from raising wages to make up the difference.
    Our elected officials found a way around it — the township now reimburses employees’ deductibles up to a limit — but why should local elected officials have to find creative work-arounds in order to continue to treat employees with minimal fairness?  

    What the hell ever happened to local control?   Fitzwalkerstan is all about taking power away from local government, and putting it into the hands of the state government.”

    Tom Scharbach
    Sauk County, WI