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February 22, 2012

National/Politics

Unions gearing up to spend big in 2012 election
By SAM HANANEL | Associated Press, Feb 22, 2012

Unions say they are gearing up to spend more than $400 million to help re-elect President Barack Obama and lift Democrats this election year in a fight for labor's survival. … "People are digging deeper," said Larry Scanlon, political director of the country's largest public workers union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "If Republicans take over the presidency, Congress and enough state legislatures, unions will be out of business, pure and simple." Scanlon's union was the biggest overall spender in the 2010 midterm elections, doling out about $93 million to help state and federal candidates, mostly Democrats. This year, AFSCME is expected to spend at least $100 million or more on political action, including television advertising, phone banks and member canvassing. The effort is to help the president, Democrats running for the House and Senate, gubernatorial candidates and key state lawmakers. …. AFSCME, the 1.6-million member union, started early this year, spending $1 million on television ads during Florida's GOP presidential primary to weaken Romney, the candidate organized labor presumes will emerge as the Republican nominee.

State & Local Government Jobs Continue to Decline in Most States 
By Lucy Dadayan, Rockefeller Institute, Feb 17, 2012

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics continue to show broad declines in state and local government employment in a majority of states, although public-sector jobs have increased elsewhere. …. Figure 2 shows trends in state-local government employment in the past five recessions. In three of those ---- the downturns starting in 1973, 1990, and 2001 ---- public employment continued to increase while private-sector jobs were declining. Only the 1980 downturn rivals the Great Recession for the length of public employment losses. However, over the last nine months, the depth of such decline has surpassed losses associated with any other modern recession.

Congress looks to federal workers' pay and benefits as sources for trimming government costs
JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press, February 21, 2012

Federal workers were $15 billion losers as Congress looked for ways to pay for parts of the just-passed legislation to extend the payroll tax cut and federal unemployment benefits through the end of the year. Their advocates are crying foul, saying two consecutive years of seeing their pay frozen means the nation's 2 million civil servants already have contributed more than $60 billion to reducing government costs. Republicans, led by their aggressive freshman class, say federal employees, with their generally secure jobs and benefits, can do more. They have proposed several bills to make that happen.

Feds fret over underfunded pensions
By: Josh Boak, Politico, February 21, 2012 10:49 PM EST

Corporate pensions increasingly look like an economic time bomb for the government. Federal officials have assumed responsibility for hundreds of troubled pension plans in recent years. Those takeovers could accelerate as baby boomers start to retire, with taxpayers potentially needing to pay tens of billions of dollars to keep the private plans alive.

Governors' Speeches Show More Interest in Infrastructure
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 By Robert Slavin, Bond Buyer
 
An analysis of state of the state speeches indicates that this year, 43% more governors are prioritizing infrastructure investment compared to last year. In a report by Loop Capital Markets, vice president Ann Kibler found that in 2011, 21 governors mentioned investing in the state’s infrastructure as a priority. In 2012, 30 mentioned it as a priority. …. The top themes of the speeches in 2012 were increasing job growth and-or increasing funding for job training, which was mentioned by 41 of 43 governors; education reform, mentioned by 39 governors; and investing in states’ infrastructure, mentioned by 30 governors.

Prison Privateer Offers to Buy Prisons from Starving States
BY JON MELEGRITO | AFSCME blog,  FEBRUARY 21, 2012

Cash-strapped states are offered a deal they may find hard to refuse: sell their prisons to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, and get back plenty of cash to remedy their states’ budget problems. And what’s in it for CCA?  A 20-year management contract and assurance that the state will take steps to keep the cells full – 90 percent full, to be exact.

Tax-Cut Bill Includes Updates to Jobless Benefits System
By ANNIE LOWREY, New York Times, February 21, 2012

Tucked into a $140 billion bill extending emergency jobless benefits and a temporary cut to payroll taxes are several provisions intended to modernize the country’s outdated unemployment insurance system. Experts described the little-noticed changes as marginal improvements, but important ones, and said they promised to aid the long-term jobless and help hold down the unemployment rate in future recessions.

Obama Offers to Cut Corporate Tax Rate to 28%
By JACKIE CALMES, New York Times, February 22, 2012

President Obama will ask Congress to scrub the corporate tax code of dozens of loopholes and subsidies to reduce the top rate to 28 percent, down from 35 percent, while giving preferences to manufacturers that would set their maximum effective rate at 25 percent, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. Mr. Obama also would establish a minimum tax on multinational corporations’ foreign earnings, the official said, to discourage “accounting games to shift profits abroad” or actual relocation of production overseas. … Nonpartisan tax analysts consistently find that corporations here on average pay just slightly more than their competitors in other developed countries after exploiting the many tax breaks and loopholes. Recent news accounts have highlighted the low effective rates paid by companies like Google, Boeing and General Electric.

Romney: Spending cuts slow economic growth
By Michael O'Brien, msnbc.com, Feb 21, 2012

Mitt Romney said Tuesday that cutting spending slows growth in the economy -- a rhetorical slip more akin to an argument a Democrat might make than a Republican. Speaking in Shelby Township, MI, the former Massachusetts governor took a question about the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission empaneled by President Obama to address the nation's deficit and debt issues. In his response, he said that addressing taxes and spending issues are essential. "If you just cut, if all you're thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you'll slow down the economy," he said in part of his response. "So you have to, at the same time, create pro-growth tax policies."

Editorial: The Court and Citizens United II
New York Times, February 21, 2012

The Supreme Court has an opportunity to reconsider its disastrous Citizens United decision. The justices should take it. The damaging effects of unlimited spending by corporations and unions on elections — honestly examined — should cause the court to overturn or, at the very least, limit that ruling.

In Republican Race, a New Breed of Superdonor
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, MICHAEL LUO and MIKE McINTIRE, New York Times, February 21, 2012

…. About two dozen individuals, couples or corporations have given $1 million or more to Republican super PACs this year, an exclusive club empowered by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and other rulings to pool their money into federal political committees and pour it directly into this year’s presidential campaign. Collectively, their contributions have totaled more than $50 million this cycle, making them easily the most influential and powerful political donors in politics today. They have relatively few Democratic counterparts so far, with most of the leading liberal donors from past years giving relatively small amounts — or not at all — to the Democratic super PACs.

Feds give seed money to startup health care insurance co-ops
Harris Meyer | Kaiser Health News, Tue, Feb. 21, 2012

Seven organizations will receive a total of $639 million in federal low-interest loans  to launch new, consumer-governed health insurance plans in eight states, the federal government announced Tuesday. The new plans, authorized by the 2010 health care law, are scheduled to open for business in 2014. They will be available on the new state health exchanges, or marketplaces, mandated by the law. They primarily will serve Americans under age 65 in the individual and small-group insurance markets.

Unions Rally to Protect Contraceptive Coverage
by Carolyn J. Jacobson | Labor Notes,  Tue, 02/21/2012 - 3:16pm

While Catholic bishops are organizing to get religious-affiliated institutions exempted from providing contraceptive coverage, some unions and women’s organizations are counter-mobilizing. …. CLUW, AFSCME, and Health Care for America NOW joined the coalition to resist the restrictions on medical services.

Hershey’s Packer Is Fined Over Its Safety Violations
By JULIA PRESTON, New York Times, February 21, 2012

After a six-month investigation prompted by the protests of student workers on an international exchange program, the Labor Department on Tuesday issued fines of $283,000 for health and safety violations against a company that operates a plant in Pennsylvania packing Hershey’s chocolates, saying it had covered up serious injuries to workers.

State/Local

Arizona Workers Mobilize As Legislators Debate Anti-Labor Laws
Pamela Powers Hannley, Huffington Post,  02/21/2012 1:40 pm

… During the two-hour forum on Feb. 17, dozens of the 200 workers in attendance took turns at the microphone to rail against the governor, the legislature, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who drafted the anti-union bills with legislators last fall.  … "Talk about going back in time," said Bruce Slabaugh, local leader of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union.

Arizona GOP Tries to Keep Cutting as Revenues Rise
Tuesday, February 21, 2012, By Richard Williamson, Bond Buyer
 
The $8.66 billion budget proposed by Arizona’s Republican legislative leaders represents $106 million less in spending than in the current outlays. … Also sidelined were Brewer’s proposed 5% pay raise for state employees and $50 million for reading remediation for school children. With the slow but steady recovery of Arizona’s economy, lawmakers are enjoying an anticipated surplus of revenue after three years of severe spending cuts. But the state will lose one source of revenue in 2013 when a temporary one-cent sales tax increase expires.

California's top labor official quits
Jon Ortiz, sacbee.com,  Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012

Amid government layoffs, budget cuts and looming contract talks, the state's top labor relations official is stepping down. Ronald Yank told Department of Personnel Administration staff on Tuesday that he's leaving.  … Yank's exit caught union leaders off-guard and comes at a key moment in labor relations. DPA handles a wide variety of employment issues from employee disputes to salaries to training.

CA: Union forges a new alliance with carwash workers
By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2012

Union membership is on the wane, but not at the Vermont Carwash and Nava's Carwash in South Los Angeles. …… "This is the future of the labor movement," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, gesturing to the parking lot full of workers waving signs in English and Spanish, before he went on stage.

CO: Cost doesn't spell success for Colorado schools using consultants to improve achievement
02/19/2012 06:29:14 PM MST By Jennifer Brown The Denver Post

….. Most states do not track how much these failing schools pay private education consultants. In about 15 states that agreed to tally such spending, the average is about 25 percent, according to The Post's analysis.…. Nationwide, school-turnaround consulting companies sprouted as it became clear the U.S. Department of Education was about to spend billions of dollars to fix the nation's bottom 5 percent of schools in academic performance. Retired big-city superintendents and even life coaches across the country were seeking contracts with failing schools. In Colorado, as in many other states, the state education department held a consultant fair, where it was apparent "there were vendors coming out of the woodwork" without experience in school turnaround but who knew "there was a lot of money to be made," said Patrick Chapman, director of federal programs for the state education department.

Connecticut lawmakers to raise pharmacy choice bill
Associated Press, Feb 21, 2012 @ 01:48 PM

Connecticut lawmakers are taking a look at legislation to expand pharmacy options for state employees. … Last year, State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition leadership signed an agreement with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration that requires long-term prescriptions to be filled at CVS pharmacies or through mail order. Other pharmacies can participate in the Maintenance Drug Network to fill daily state employee prescriptions; however, they must be able to match CVS Caremark rates.

FL: State employees and their supporters rally at Capitol
11:19 AM, Feb. 21, 2012 |  By Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee.com

Hundreds of public employees spread through the Capitol complex today to argue against "dangerous legislation" they believe will cost them their jobs. "The stakes cannot be higher in this legislative session," Jeanette Wynn, state president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said at a rally on the Duval Street steps of the Capitol. "Today is our day to make a difference." ….. "We're here to change their minds, to make them respect the workers," said Janet Coakley of Miami-Dade County. "AFSCME is here and we're not going anywhere."

FL: Replacement drug testing bill advances
7:19 PM, Feb. 21, 2012 |   News Service of Florida

A House committee Tuesday approved a revised proposal that would allow random drug testing of state employees, as a federal judge prepares to hear arguments Wednesday about a similar testing plan by Gov. Rick Scott. ….. Scott issued an executive order last year requiring drug tests for state workers but was quickly hit with a constitutional challenge that the ACLU filed on behalf of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The ACLU said oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday afternoon in a Miami federal courthouse.

FL: Commission approves Jackson contracts
Miami Herald, 02.21.12

The Miami -Dade Board of County Commissioners approved Tuesday contracts for three bargaining units of SEIU Local 1991, which represents nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals at the Jackson Health System. ….. Jackson’s other major union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has yet to reach an agreement. The local unit is officially at impasse, starting a process that could end with the county commission deciding terms of the contract.

IA: Court hears arguments in dispute over closing Iowa jobless sites
5:13 AM, Feb. 22, 2012 |   JEFF ECKHOFF, Des Moines Register

It all comes down, Iowa Supreme Court justices were told Tuesday, to a question of how clear is clear enough. At stake, ultimately, is whether Iowa Workforce Development will be forced to open 36 unemployment offices closed last summer after Gov. Terry Branstad vetoed parts of a law intended to keep them open. …  Lawyers for five Democratic legislators and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contend that adjoining sentences in the same paragraph should be enough to block Branstad from spending money on something the Legislature never wanted.

IA: Iowa City managers say $10 minimum wage would be bad business
BY BRYCE VISSER | Daily Iowan, FEBRUARY 22, 2012 6:30 AM

An Iowa Senate bill raising minimum wage by $2.25 over the next year has some Republican legislators and business owners concerned about future employment prospects — including those for students. …. Dvorsky noted this would be the first increase of the state's minimum wage since 2008, when the wage was raised from $5.15 an hour to its current rate. "Back then, companies all over the state were protesting the minimum wage hike and threatening to move out," said Danny Homan, the president of the American Federation of State, Municipal, and County Employees Iowa Council 61. "It turns out none of them left."

IL: 14 facilities proposed for closure in Quinn austerity budget
By DOUG FINKE, CHRIS WETTERICH, The State Journal-Register Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:46 AM

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to close the supermaximum-security prison near Tamms, a women’s prison in Dwight, two juvenile prisons and six halfway houses as part of an austerity budget he will unveil Wednesday. …. The Tamms supermax is targeted for closure because it costs more to house inmates there than at any other state prison. …. Six of seven halfway houses – formally known as adult transition centers -- including one in Peoria, would also close.  …. But Anders Lindall, a spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said the proposal raises public safety questions. "The state's approximately 350 parole agents are already severely strained by their responsibility to monitor some 30,000 parolees," Lindall said.

IL: Pension, Medicaid changes sought in Illinois budget
By Karen Pierog, Reuters,  Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:50pm EST

- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will call for cuts to escalating pension and Medicaid costs in his budget address on Wednesday to stop the two programs From devouring more of the cash-strapped state's general funds budget, top officials in his office said on Tuesday. …. Moody's Investors Service cited inaction on pensions and unpaid bills last month when it cut the state's credit rating to A2, the lowest rating among the states it rates.

IL:  ‘There’s a Ripple Effect’: A Chicago Librarian Speaks Out About Cutbacks
BY KARI LYDERSEN, In These Times, TUESDAY FEB 21, 2012 12:40 PM

"John," 67, has been a librarian since 1973, much of that time spent in Chicago’s currently embattled library system. Working in a branch in a low-income neighborhood, John—who asked his real name not be used since he’s not authorized to speak to reporters—sees firsthand the important role the city’s libraries play and how library workers and residents have been affected by more than recent 100 layoffs and cuts in service hours. As I wrote previously, the libraries have become one of several high-profile battlegrounds between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and public-sector unions, including AFSCME Council 31, which represents library workers. …. Have you heard what kind of effect the layoffs are having on pages and other staff? Oh yeah, there’s a ripple effect. The library has a private security firm. Because their hours are being reduced, you have one security officer talking to me about how she only got 17 hours in that week because of the reduction in library hours. Not only are library employees being affected, other companies that provide services to libraries are being impacted. She was talking about how she’d have to move to Indiana or someplace else because she can’t afford the rent now.

IL: Editorial: Pact benefits D-365U, bus drivers
Bolingbrook Reporter, Feb 21, 2012 Feb 21, 2012 @ 12:18 PM

It’s a truly rough economy when members of a union consider it a victory in labor negotiations when their wages are reduced but they get to keep their jobs. This scenario recently was faced by bus drivers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3057. They are employed by Valley View Community Unit School District 365U, and their contract will expire June 30.

KS: Legislators eye hybrid pension plan for KPERS
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 By Gene Meyer | Kansas Reporter

Lawmakers this week have started to look at a new way to rein in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS. …. Kansas government workers “are still evaluating the idea, but it’s better than the defined contribution plan that the study commission recommended,” said Rebecca Proctor, a Kansas City labor lawyer. Proctor represents the Kansas Organization of State Employees, the state's largest government workers' union. She also served on the KPERS Study Commission, and wrote a minority report dissenting from its recommendations, which was signed by three other commission members.

MI: Snyder says Highland Park schools' EM must step down
BY SHAWN D. LEWIS AND JOSH KATZENSTEIN THE DETROIT NEWS. FEBRUARY 22, 2012 AT 1:00 AM

The emergency manager of Highland Park schools has to step down because of a court ruling, and district employees could go without being paid Friday unless the school board acts, Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday. Decision-making in the financially troubled district will return to the superintendent and school board from Jack Martin, who was named emergency manager Jan. 27, state officials said.

MI: EM law opposition confident / Organizers prepare to deliver 215K signatures to state, even as decision looms for Detroit
BY LEONARD N. FLEMING AND DARREN A. NICHOLS THE DETROIT NEWS, FEBRUARY 22, 2012 AT 8:27 AM

Detroit —While state officials weigh an emergency manager for the city, a petition drive to derail the intervention will culminate next Wednesday when organizers deliver more than 215,000 signatures in Lansing. Only 161,000 signatures are necessary to force a referendum on the emergency manager law in November. If they're valid, state officials could freeze the law until voters decide its fate. …. Earlier this month, the mayor helped negotiate tentative agreements with a council of unions, including AFSCME, the city's largest union.

MI: Detroit City Council financial analyst: Labor agreements unlikely to save much money
By Nancy Kaffer, Crain’s Detroit Business, February 21, 2012 12:49 PM 

Tentative agreements reached between the city of Detroit and its labor unions are unlikely to achieve significant savings, according to a new report by the Detroit City Council's top financial analyst. Many of the key points of the tentative agreements don't have sufficient documentation to show whether they'd save the city money, and some provisions actually could increase costs, wrote Irvin Corley Jr., the council's fiscal analyst.

MI: Genesee County board chairman wants fingerprint system to track employee time on the job
Monday, February 20, 2012, 5:00 PM  By Ron Fonger |

The honor system might become a thing of the past for county workers when it comes to accounting for their time. The county is looking at replacing its paper time card system by the end of the year with a new method that would require workers to check in and out via fingerprint scan. …. The Flint Journal could not immediately reach a representative of AFSCME Local 496 today.

MI: Union contract concessions, privatization among priorities of Flint emergency manager Michael Brown
Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 9:00 PM  By Kristin Longley | mlive.com

Cutting city spending through labor union contract concessions and privatizing some city services are high on Flint emergency manager Michael Brown's list of priorities, he said today. ….. As for union contracts, Brown said 80 percent of the city's costs are personnel related, and the city is preparing to sit down with the employee union groups to discuss contract negotiations, he said. Under state law, emergency managers have the power to open collective bargaining agreements under certain conditions.

NE: Another blow to child welfare privatization
By Martha Stoddard, WORLD-HERALD, Tuesday February 21, 2012

Nebraska’s experiment in privatizing child welfare services suffered a major blow Tuesday when one of two contractors pulled out. Officials with the Kansas-based KVC announced that the company will stop managing child welfare cases as of Feb. 29. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will take back the responsibility. KVC’s departure leaves the state with only one private contractor: the Omaha-based Nebraska Families Collaborative.

NH: Prison privatization plan has opponents
By TED SIEFER  Feb 22, 2012 at 3:00 am, Union Leader

Opponents of privatizing the state's prisons slammed the idea at a legislative hearing, even as contractors put the finishing touches on their bids. The bill before the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, SB 376, is narrow in scope. It would extend the work of a legislative committee reviewing the bidding process from December 2011 until May 2012.

NJ: Christie proposes $32.1B budget with increased education funding, revenue expectations
Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 7:23 PM  By Jarrett Renshaw/NJ.com

Gov. Chris Christie proposed a $32.15 billion budget today that relies on robust revenue growth to deliver about $2 billion in increased spending in several areas, including higher education and aid to local schools. …. The projected revenue increase will help Christie make a $1.06 billion payment into the state’s troubled pension system. While the payment is the largest payment in years, it is well short of the $3.74 billion payment that actuaries say is necessary to meet its obligations.

NM: State unveils plans for Medicaid revamp
Trip Jennings | The New Mexican  Tuesday, February 21, 2012

…. On Tuesday, Gov. Susana Martinez's Human Services Department secretary, Sidonie Squier, unveiled a long-awaited blueprint of proposed changes to Medicaid, the government's low-income health-insurance program, in a series of presentations. ….. Currently, seven private-sector, managed-care organizations administer $2.46 billion of New Mexico's nearly $3.9 billion Medicaid budget. While the state wants to reduce the number of managed-care companies administering the program with its proposed changes, it wants to add Native Americans under the managed-care umbrella.

OR: State employees who use tobacco to pay lots more for life insurance
3:15 PM, Feb. 21, 2012 |   Statesman Journal

State employees who use tobacco will pay much more for optional life insurance in 2013, according to a change that has been approved by the Public Employees’ Benefit Board.

RI: Editorial: Shedding light on election spending
The Brown Daily Herald : Tuesday, February 21, 2012

… Although much of the concern about Super PACs has been focused on the national presidential race, the forces of big money are blowing at Rhode Island's door as well. This past winter, while the legislature debated how to reform state employees' pensions, a group called Engage Rhode Island spent $617,000 promoting the bill. If EngageRI started electioneering — as it has publicly acknowledged it plans to do — its major donors may remain unknown until after Election Day.

TN: Howard Richardson led Memphis unions, worked behind the scenes
By Michael Lollar, Commercial Appeal, February 22, 2012

…. Chad Johnson, executive director of AFSCME-Local 1773 described him as "a legend in labor circles for his long commitment and political action. He was a very quiet-toned man and liked to work behind the scenes or one-on-one. He was rarely the person standing at a podium and yelling. He always felt that labor rights, human rights and civil rights are all the same thing."

Wisconsin recall race: AFSCME endorses Kathleen Falk
By MACKENZIE WEINGER | 2/21/12 12:17 PM Politico

…. On Monday, AFSCME Wisconsin made its endorsement after what it described as an “exhaustive process” involving an open invitation to all known potential candidates for an interview with union members. “Ultimately, Kathleen Falk emerged as the clear choice,” the union said in a statement.

WI: Politico Gaffe Becomes Organizing Tool In Wisconsin Recall Effort
AlterNet, Feb 21, 2012

…. "When national news blog Politico came to Milwaukee to cover Pres. Obama's visit, they incorrectly identified the Wisconsin flag as the "flag for the local union, Wisconsin 1848." Many people got a chuckle at the embarrassing mistake, but we think it really represents something larger," reads a new AFSCME petition. "So let's say it loud and say it proud! Join as a charter member of "Wisconsin Local 1848" today. We'll share up-to-the-minute information on statewide issues that affect us all."

WI: Dane County unveils negotiations with unions to lower citizen taxes
Leah Linscheid, Badger Herald, Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:29:51 a.m.

After a tumultuous year of union relations at the state level, Dane County officials approved an agreement with county workers Tuesday that will alter a union contract to diminish wages and thus save the county nearly $2 million next year.  … According to AFSCME Local 65 President Arlyn Halvorson, union members will receive a 1.25 percent cut in hourly wages, which will save the county approximately $1.2 million in one year.

WI: Waukesha County panel endorses pay raises
Laurel Walker of the Journal Sentinel, Feb. 21, 2012

…. The committee also recommended pay raises in 2012 of 2% for about 425 clerical, paraprofessional, maintenance and sanitarian workers previously represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. In addition, raises of 1.6% retroactive for 2011 and 2% for 2012 were recommended for about 160 corrections officers and dispatch center employees. The unions have been decertified in the wake of last year's state law changes that eliminated most collective bargaining for most public employees.

WI: Bills aim to change WI’s constitution
February 21st, 2012 By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter

… The Assembly is expected to vote on Assembly Joint Resolution 100, a constitutional amendment to require the state to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, when the state spends or receives funds. Currently, Wisconsin, like most other states, uses Government Accounting Standards Board, or GASB, principles to determine its budget situation. Under GAAP, revenue and expenditures must be counted in the year they occur, rather than when cash transfers hands. The different accounting methods result in billions of dollars' difference when looking at the state budget: a $2.99 billion deficit using GAAP versus an $86 million surplus using GASB.

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