Walker proposes requiring state employees to pick up some of pension costs

    GOP gubernatorial hopeful Scott Walker today proposed requiring state employees to pick up a greater portion of their pension costs to help fix the state’s budget problems.
    The suggestion drew a sharp response from the head of one of the state’s largest employees unions, who dismissed the suggestion as “typical Scott Walker.”
    However, Walker told reporters the step would save the state about $176 million a year and that it made sense in tight times to require public employees to pay more of their pension costs. That’s especially true because the same is expected of private sector employees. Walker said only a small percentage of state employees currently pay anything toward their retirement.
    Walker also promised that if elected he would begin covering what would be his share of the pension costs for the office of governor, which he said would be $5,632 annually. He would take that step immediately upon taking office as he worked toward requiring state employees to do the same.
    “This is one of those that anybody outside of state government thinks is reasonable,” Walker said.
    The county exec said he would try any means available to force the change, even possibly passing a new law to require employees to pick up their share. But AFSCME executive director Mary Beil said such a change would have to be bargained in employee contracts and state workers were not likely to embrace such a move, especially considering the other cuts to their pay that Walker has already talked about.
    Biel also accused Walker of political grandstanding considering he never raised a concern about the pension costs the state picked up for him while he was still serving in the state Assembly.
    “He didn’t pay a dime toward his pension when he was in the Legislature,” Beil said. “He enjoyed all of that. He will enjoy that retirement.”
    – WisPolitics

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