Monday, February 28, 2011
By the time you read this, the situation may have changed – again. But I think we’re at “endgame” here with the demonstrators in Madison, the 14 absent Democrat senators, and Governor Walker.
I don’t see any moves left for the 14 senate Democrats who decamped to Illinois to forestall a vote on the Budget Repair Bill. Despite the constant presence of protesters at the Capitol, the guv has made it quite clear that he’s not willing to talk, not willing to negotiate.
The simple fact is, he has the votes; and eventually, if not already, he’ll get his way.
And then the lawsuits will begin. There’ll be lawsuits about the vote in the Assembly to pass the Budget Repair Bill; there’ll be lawsuits about keeping people out of the Capitol; there’ll be lawsuits about busting the public employee unions. Lawsuits enough to provide plenty of billable hours for plenty of lawyers on both sides, even with pro-bono contributions by the legal eagles on both sides.
I think my friend Bill Lueders’ brilliant analysis in last Thursday’s “Isthmus” is dead-bang on: there is a lot of harm being done here, and it may be irreparable harm. On both sides. There are very strong feelings on both sides of this union-busting issue, and nobody is changing anybody’s mind. Both sides have been digging in deeper for the past two weeks.
Regardless of where you fall on the issues, our state politicians have been kicking the budget problem down the road for far too many years, and now it truly is coming home to haunt us. This is not a time for one-time-only quick fixes. Too many of those slick tricks have gotten us where we are now – broke, with bills coming due.
And the City of Madison called into question its willingness to “give a little” when last week the City Council, in special session, approved extensions of the contracts with several of the public employee unions to avoid, temporarily, the increases in contributions toward health insurance and retirement that are sure to come. Like it or not, that sort of thing does not sit well with the “other side.”
Last week I was energized; this week, I’m saddened.
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 2:39 PM