Governor's repair bill only half right

Feb. 16, 2011

Public Forum:

I speak only for myself here.

Thank you very much for your assistance over the past few days helping me to understand the governor's proposed "budget repair" bill and, in particular, those items in the bill that affect municipal employees. In general, I commend the governor's initiative to restrain public employee compensation costs.

Please note though that the bill does nothing to reduce health care costs at the municipal level and, unfortunately, by exempting police and fire employees from pension cost sharing (as you confirmed for me today), does not deliver the degree of relief that we need. In fact, if, as we predict, the governor's budget bill eliminates just state shared revenue, the lost revenue to Wauwatosa will be greater than the amount of cost reduction we realize from the "budget repair" bill.

Our pension cost for members of the police department is 21 percent of wages. Pension costs for fire department employees is 24 percent of wages. All of our employees, including firefighters and police employees, pay 3 percent of health insurance premiums (vs. the 12 percent that the governor finds right for state employees).

In addition to the bill's betrayal of the local property taxpayer, consider the dislocation that this will create among employees. The librarians, public works employees and the like will pay 5.8 percent of their wage for a pension whose total cost is 11.2 percent. The Fire and Police employees will pay nothing for a pension that costs 21-24 percent of wages. I guess that's for us local officials to sort out.

Governor, please come to the aid of your City.

Pete Donegan

Alderman, 1st District of Wauwatosa

Chairman, Employee Relations



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