Americans for Prosperity: Why Are Illinois Unions Protesting Governor Scott Walker?

April 17, 2012

SPRINGFIELD- Americans for Prosperity – Illinois wants to know why government unions are protesting Governor Walker and his reforms, which saved thousands of public sector jobs. At the same time, Governor Quinn has proposed firing thousands of workers.

“Government unions should be holding a rally for Gov. Walker, while protesting Gov. Quinn and the legislative leaders of Illinois,” said Americans for Prosperity – Illinois State Director David From. “Gov. Walker supported difficult reforms to avert the lay-off of thousands of state workers in Wisconsin, rescuing the budget and making their state more attractive to businesses. Meanwhile, Gov. Quinn has refused to make necessary reforms to reign in retiree benefits, while raising taxes and making Illinois a less attractive place to do business and proposing to lay-off nearly 2,500 state workers.”

Wisconsin’s reforms, called Act 10, require that public employees contribute 5.8 percent of their salaries to pension benefits and contribute at least 12.6 percent of their total health insurance premium costs, still the most generous in the Midwest. These contributions are still just a third of the size of contributions in the private-sector, and 25 percent less than the 500 largest employers in southeast Wisconsin. In contrast, Illinois public employees pay 9 percent of their salaries to pension benefits while Illinois taxpayers still pay $2,823 less in health insurance benefits per state employee than their neighbors in Wisconsin.

As a result of Gov. Walker’s reforms, Wisconsin government workers still contribute less for their pension benefits than Illinois public sector workers, receive better healthcare benefits and averted thousands of lay-offs, unlike their Illinois counterparts. “It would seem the average Illinois government union employee should be asking for the types of reforms Walker passed, not attacking them,” From noted.

Finally, the “We Are One” protest flyer criticizes Gov. Walker for trying to attract Illinois jobs to Wisconsin. Again, perhaps they should be protesting Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democrat legislative leaders and their own union bosses for pushing the dramatic corporate and income tax increase that forces businesses to look at relocating to other states.

“I would think a governor who averts thousands of lay-offs by passing reasonable reforms should be applauded by government union workers, not vilified,” continued From. “These public employees should focus their anger on the Illinois’ leaders who have plunged this state into fiscal calamity that will necessitate further cuts in jobs and benefits for the same public employees that will be protesting on Tuesday.”

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