I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
Despite early criticism from city officials, new figures show
The city projects it will save at least $25 million a year - and potentially as much as $36 million in 2012 - from health care benefit changes it didn't have to negotiate with unions, as a result of provisions in the 2009-'11 budget-repair measure that ended most collective bargaining for most public employees.
That saving would be partly offset by about $14 million in cuts in state aid to the city in the 2011-'13 state budget. The figure is down from earlier estimates of more than $17 million, after the Legislature scaled back Gov. Scott Walker's proposed cuts in aid for local streets and recycling.
As a result, the city would come out with a net gain of at least $11 million for its 2012 budget, slicing into the "structural deficit" created by costs rising faster than revenue and reducing the spending cuts that Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council must impose.
That outlook contrasts sharply with Barrett's initial comments in March, after
At that time, Barrett had said the combination of aid cuts, rising expenses, a property tax levy freeze and exempting public safety workers from health care and pension benefit changes "just makes our structural deficit explode."
Barrett now says the health care benefit changes are a major factor in helping the city balance its budget. But the Democratic mayor isn't giving the credit to Walker, the Republican who defeated him in November's gubernatorial election.
"It's a false question," Barrett said when asked whether Walker was right in his contention that his bargaining changes more than offset the impact of his aid cuts. Barrett said most people would agree that public employees should pay more of their health care and pension costs, but Walker didn't have to eliminate almost all of their collective bargaining power to do it.
"The fiscal reforms now in place, which were contained in the budget and budget-repair bills, give local units of government the tools necessary to balance their budgets. The reforms allow governments to save money not only on benefit contributions, but on changes to (its) insurance provider, overtime rules and other measures. Not only do these reforms save money, but they also help improve government services."
Werwie noted that other local governments and school districts around the state were also realizing savings from the legislation.