Letter: Appreciates WalkerWhen Scott Walker was sworn in as Wisconsin governor, Wisconsin was ranked as one of the top 10 states in the nation in the worst financial condition.
By: Ken Palmersheim, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
When Scott Walker was sworn in as Wisconsin governor, Wisconsin was ranked as one of the top 10 states in the nation in the worst financial condition. Wisconsin stood second in the nation in unfunded benefit liabilities at 47.1 percent of State Gross Domestic Product (or approximately $117 billion, the amount of funds not previously set aside to pay present and future pension and healthcare liabilities for public union workers, including teachers). This is a tremendous amount that must still be made up from tax revenues in the future.
At the time Gov. Walker was sworn in, Wisconsin was also seventh in the nation with a debt to Gross Domestic Product percentage of 4.1 percent (a very high amount). The total Wisconsin GDP for 2010 was, reportedly, $248.3 billion, which means the state’s debt was over $10 billion. This is debt that will have to be paid by state taxpayers in the future. Instead of criticizing Gov. Walker and our legislature we should be thanking them for bringing fiscally responsible government back to Wisconsin and saving our state from potential bankruptcy.
These are the same kinds of financial problems that caused the financial crisis in Europe in recent years and have brought countries (like Greece and Spain) to the brink of total financial collapse.
An analysis published on http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/feb/21/george-will/george-will-says-wisconsin-governors-benefits-prop/ discloses that even with the bills passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Walker requiring members of the public unions to pay a higher percentage of their health insurance, their cost is still less than the private sector.
If our state follows the pattern of the nation, then less than 13 percent of our workers enjoy the job protection of a union, so let’s not let unions control our state government.
Recall elections are costing Wisconsin taxpayers money that we don’t have.