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Patch's Poll: Should Connecticut Go The Route Of Wisconsin?

The New Haven Register says Connecticut could learn a few things from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when it comes to dealing with unions and taxes.

In light of Wisconsin’s recall election last week — in which voters in that state decided to keep the controversial Gov. Scott Walker in power — the New Haven Register published an editorial saying Connecticut should follow in that state’s lead when it comes to Walker's initiatives on unions.

Walker faced public scrutiny over the past year due to Wisconsin’s new law stripping public unions of the right to collectively bargain on benefits and giving state employees the freedom to choose whether to join the union or not.

But the Register argued those moves helped close a $3.6 billion budget gap to $143 million in less than a year, “without laying off any employees.”

“As a result of Walker’s initiatives, Wisconsin is one of the few states with net job growth and an unemployment number significantly below the national average,” the editorial said.

In contrast, the Register said that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the state Democrats have taken a different strategy in raising taxes and increasing spending.

“While last year’s agreement with the unions did increase some costs and reduce some benefits for the state’s union workers, it did not adequately address the main drivers of expense: health care and pension benefits,” the editorial said. “Consequently, Connecticut faces significant, future financial shortfalls and is not remotely close to balancing its budget.”

In a year when budget shortfalls, union benefits and controversial leadership all came to a clash, do you agree with the Register's assessment and think Connecticut should go the route of a system similar to Wisconsin? Or do you think that will cause too much backlash and that Connecticut’s approach is more appropriate? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

Sandy D'Esopo June 16, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Hi Paul, OSHA was signed into law about 40 years ago by Richard Nixon. I was in my 30's, and I remember that unions, chiefly through the AFL-CIO, lobbied hard for its passage, while large industries like coal and steel fought fiercely to oppose it. Private sector unions were more powerful back then, and were able to overcome corporate opposition. I doubt they would today, and though it's unlikely OSHA would be repealed today, like other laws its can be emasculated in other ways such as starving its budget, reducing staff, etc. Given its popularity, however, worker safety laws are less at risk, though, than wages, benefits and retirement benefits. As to government unions, I have never said that pay and benefits for government workers have not become unaffordable in some cases. However, as it is a lawyer's job to protect the client, guilty or not, so it is a union's job to protect its workers. To do less would be derelict. Scott Walker's merely outlawing most union negotiations, will, if not in Wisconsin then in another state which adopt his methods, end in widespread strikes. The upheaval will be immense. Finally, as the private sector employment situation improves, disgruntled government workers will leave for better jobs. The best will go first, leaving the worst to protect us, maintain our infrastructure, and teach our children.
Paul June 17, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Sandy, thanks for your responce...We dont agree but thats alright..I lived through the 60's as well and have learned to totally distrust UNIONS through my own experiences... I will continue to push for more Walkers in the public sector.. Have a nice day...
John Yannacci, Sr. June 17, 2012 at 02:11 PM
By the way, George, it's "drivel", not "dribble". Dribble is what the nurse wipes from your chin in that "home" where you reside.
Sandy D'Esopo June 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Hi Paul, I haven't meant to imply that I am all that trusting of unions. I simply believe that they are necessary because their core allegiance is to workers, while companies allegiance is to stockholders and executives. Neither can be trusted wholly, but workers have more to lose by placing their trust in managment than in unions. Yes, though not all unions are corrupt, but even those do well for their membership. The Teamsters, corrupt as any, are a prime example. As to municipal unions, many of their gains in the past at least were negotiated as perks in lieu of wages. Wage parity with the private sector may have become the rule in some cases at least, and pension and other benefits may have become unaffordable. But these issues are rightly ones of negotiation, not the destructions of the collective bargaining process. As union have declined over the last half century, so have the wages and conditions of workers. Germany is one of the world's most thoroughly unionized economies, and it is thriving, unlike so those of many other developed countries. Blaming unions for all our troubles is oversimplifying what's wrong. Scapegoating is all to easy and never solves anything.
Daniella Ruiz June 25, 2012 at 11:53 PM
sandy, as more states rely upon 'investing' their various pension monies in 'the stock market', that alone represents unknown risk factors. it almost seems as if the financial masters were bleeding the lot of us, to pay the shareholders for doing NOTHING. reaching into the vast, unimaginable sums available from virtually untrackable tax sources would seem a very nice target for criminals. as the recent FBI exposure of municipal bond fixing by Chase, Wells Fargo and other 'trusted' institutions of high finance, there may well be a 'fly in the ointment' in all levels of human trust. just the mention of scapegoats, renders visions of social failure galore.

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