LETTER: Research shows Walker’s on the right pathTo the Telegram: Gov. Scott Walker was asked this question by a teacher: “Some teachers in my building have said that they heard you had plans to ‘steal’ money already deposited in the teacher retirement system.
To the Telegram:
Gov. Scott Walker was asked this question by a teacher: “Some teachers in my building have said that they heard you had plans to ‘steal’ money already deposited in the teacher retirement system. They think that teachers could no longer count on these retirement funds already in their accounts to be available to them. Will teachers really lose money already in their retirement accounts?
Governor Walker’s response was “No. I will veto any proposal that attempts to reduce pension benefits already accrued by public employees, including teachers. In fact, modifying earned retirement benefits would likely be a violation of state law. Additionally, I am currently not planning to make any changes to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS).
“These rumors started because WEAC, AFSCME and other public sector unions sent communications to their members indicating that I have plans to abolish or completely overhaul the WRS. These claims are 100 percent false.
“It’s unfortunate that the very unions who are supposed to be looking out for public employees are misleading their membership for the personal gain of a few union bosses. Ultimately the unions’ political tactic of spreading misinformation does a disservice to all public employees. I am hopeful that by spreading the truth we can avoid any unnecessary early retirements that could result from the dissemination of inaccurate information.
“The basis of the unions’ false claim lies in the fact that I originally brought up the idea of studying the WRS and comparing it to retirement systems in other states earlier last year. However, I did not include this proposal in my version of the biennial state budget. It became law after the Legislature inserted a provision into the budget that required the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) to study pension options.”
The goal of the study is to determine how the WRS can remain stable and avoid the massive shortfalls facing other states. ETF put out a detailed summary of the study, which can be accessed at etf.wi.gov/news/ht-wrs-study12092011.pdf
You can also read about the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s fact-check on this issue at
“The results of the ETF study will help us ensure that the WRS can continue to be one of the best publicly funded pension systems in the world,” Walker said.
Teachers and taxpayers should be treated fairly, and, after doing my own research, it is my opinion that Gov. Walker is on the right path to achieve fiscal responsibility for both.