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Lower-paid public employees contributing higher percentage of income to benefits under new law

A new analysis shows lower-paid public employees are contributing a higher percentage of their income to benefits under the changes in Gov. Scott Walker's sweeping collective bargaining law.

A new analysis shows lower-paid public employees are contributing a higher percentage of their income to benefits under the changes in Gov. Scott Walker's sweeping collective bargaining law.

The law requires all public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance. For full disclosure, that includes employees of Wisconsin Public Radio.

A memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows that someone making $125,000 a year is now paying roughly 8-percent of their salary toward benefits. But someone making just $25,000 a year is now paying roughly 16-percent of their salary.

Madison Assembly Democrat Brett Hulsey requested the memo.

"This was an example, you know, where we're kicking people while they're down," he said.

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Health insurance premiums account for the disparity. Because everyone pays the same amount for health insurance no matter how much they make, any premium increase hits lower paid workers much harder.

In pure dollar terms, a higher-paid employee contributes more to benefits. That's because the amount public workers pay toward their pensions goes up the more they make.

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