Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

My letter to Governor Walker RE: the Budget “Repair” Bill

Governor Walker:

I’m writing this afternoon to make sure my voice is heard.  I am a taxpayer.  We pay sales taxes, income taxes, and property taxes on the home that we own.  I understand the need for “modest” cuts.  I understand the prioritization that needs to take place in order to balance a budget.  My husband I have three children that we raise on one income.   We’re faced with difficult choices every day.  I sometimes wonder where we’ll find the money to pay our bills.

I suppose you could say that’s where our similarities end.  I’ve read the full text of your bill, listened to your press conferences, and read the letter you sent to State employees.  Through all of that, it’s clear to me that you aren’t asking for “modest” changes.  Asking for contributions to pensions and health care premiums is modest.  Eliminating all collective bargaining rights is not – and let’s face it, that’s precisely what this bill does.  It’s disingenuous to insist otherwise.

Governor, you are correct, though.  This bill really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to so many that likely voted for you.  Your history in Milwaukee County is precisely why I didn’t vote for you.  I don’t know why I still find myself surprised at the tactics the Republican party in Wisconsin is taking.  Not a single politician, yourself included, knows the meaning of the word compromise.  That’s what collective bargaining is about, after all…compromise.

I’ll be honest, in writing this email to you I know it won’t make one bit of difference.  You’ll never read it.  Instead, some staff member in your office will glance over it before reducing my family to another tally mark on a chart.  I’m sure I’ll be powerless to change the course of this Budget “Repair” bill and yet I still want to be sure that my voice is heard.  I want to believe that maybe this time things will be different.  Maybe, for once anyway, elected officials will engage in the give and take that once made our State and this country so proud.  I want to believe that in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

For the record, I don’t live in Madison.  I haven’t sent an email or called your office because I had been primarily focusing on our district’s Representative.  We also traveled to the capital on Wednesday to stand alongside public employees as they fight for what generations before us considered a basic right.  We’re homeschoolers and are always looking for opportunities to provide real world, concrete examples to the things we learn together.  We’re looking forward to traveling to Madison again tomorrow as I can think of no better way to teach a profoundly important lesson to our children.

I’m asking you to lead by example.  Listen more, talk less, and restore confidence again in the political process.  You can lead by example by showing your willingness to compromise – It isn’t too late.

Respectfully,
A mother of three

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