April 12, 2011
Senator Alberta Darling
Wisconsin State Legislature
Room 317 East, State Capitol
Madison, WI 53707-7882
I hope my letter finds you and yours well and rested from your Budget hearings. After the speech by one of my fellow County Board Supervisors at your hearing, I feel it is my duty to supply some balance to what was said.
The speaker I am referring to is County Supervisor Ralph Hensel. For the record, Supervisor Hensel is the Chair of the Washington County Finance Committee. If you are unclear on his position on spending, I always say, “Don't listen to what I say, look at how I vote.” These records are available online at the Washington County web site. In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Hensel is also a retired teacher living off a tax payer funded pension plan.
Mr. Hensel does not speak for a majority of the taxpayers in the reddest County in Wisconsin, Washington County, on spending taxpayer money. That said, as the Finance Committee Chair, he does have control of the purse strings of Washington County. Apathy on the part of many has allowed our local government to be taken over by the liberal minority. That mistake will be corrected soon.
Oddly, I find myself, after a fashion, agreeing with Supervisor Hensel. I do agree that we need to change Wisconsin's pension funding but I think a level playing field is in order. My 401K retirement plan is a voluntary plan and, in the interest of fairness, the State plan should also be voluntary. I would ask that as part of the 2012 budget plan, you change the State plan from mandatory to voluntary. This would give public employees the same advantages I have funding my retirement.
On the subject of union bargaining rights, I also agree change is necessary. I disagree with both Supervisor Hensel and Governor Walker in providing both civil service protections and some bargaining rights. To me, this sounds like being partially pregnant. I would ask that as part of the 2012 budget plan, you either allow the unions full bargaining rights with no civil service protections or, as the framers of civil service protections had originally intended, give all government employees protections and end all bargaining rights, period.
Finally, as a veteran of County's Finance Committee, I see significant opportunity to limit spending at the local level but the will to do so is lacking. I have no doubt that with your knowledge of State spending, you and your Committee also see the opportunities. I would ask that as part of the 2012 budget plan, you speak for those of us who changed the face of Wisconsin's government last November and continue to do our will.
Supervisor Bill Meyers, District 24
Washington County Board of Supervisors