great protest signs in Madison

As the state of Wisconsin faces a $3.6 billion budget deficit, and Gov Scott Walker proposes changes, thousands of taxpayers descended on Madison, our state capital, to make their voices heard. Many brought signs to convey their messages. These are some of the best:

This take off of the “Don’t Tread On Me” flags of the 60s and 70s clearly conveys Wisconsin’s taxpayers frustration at being forced to pay for benefits of state employees that we simply can no longer afford.
We, the workers of Wisconsin, are tired of having our rights violated. We’ve happily given great benefits to state workers for years, but our state is now in trouble and we just can’t afford it any more.
Let’s stop wasting money on benefits we can’t afford. We need to put an end to the union contracts that guarantee jobs for bad teachers, and instead hire some new educators who are willing and eager to get into the classroom and make a difference.

“Education First”, indeed!

Our recent economic struggles have made the attacks on our families even more prevalent. Our family budgets are suffering, and we’re forced to make sacrifices to make ends meet. Meanwhile, we’re still forced to pay for benefits secured by unions. We need to stop these attacks once and for all.
Now this sign I’m not so sure of. I am indeed professional, but I am also replaceable. Knowing that there is someone else out there willing to step in and take my job helps me to appreciate what I have, and provides motivation to constantly improve myself.

So I don’t really agree with this one.

The rights of private sector employees are at risk. No, we’re not angry that we have to pay substantially for our health insurance and retirement plans. We’re just tired of being taken advantage of by funding a concept that puts state worker benefits at a level above ours in the private sector.
See my comments on the previous sign.

With all the teachers and state employees in Madison protesting against Gov. Walker’s plan, it’s great to see so many supporters of Gov. Walker and us taxpayers.

Comments 3

  • There’s been a lot of confusion about what Walker’s doing — but he’s definitely not passing a budget. He’s pushing optional legislation in a vehicle that’s meant to tweak the budget in the event of a budget emergency. To the extent that there is an emergency, Walker essentially created it, giving him the chance to pass a bill that would permanently deny public workers collective bargaining rights, while he’s still riding the wave of his own post-election popularity.

    Here’s how it came down.

    In Wisconsin, budget season is two years long. The current budget window was opened on July 1, 2009, and will close on June 30 of this year. If for unexpected reason, the state finds itself faced with a severe deficit within a biennial window, the legislature must pass what’s known a “budget repair bill” — to close the gap with spending cuts or other emergency measures.

    The state has not crossed that threshold.

    The previous governor, Democrat Jim Doyle, passed a budget that left the state poised for a surplus this year. When Walker took office in January he chipped away at that surplus with three conservative tax expenditure bills, but not severely enough to trigger a budget repair bill. The current, small shortfall was “manufactured by Governor Walker’s own insistence on making the deficit worse with the bills he passed in January,” Kreitlow said. But Walker cited that shortfall to introduce a “budget repair bill” anyhow — a fully elective move that includes his plan to end collective bargaining rights for state employees.

    “The trigger had not been reached prior to Governor Walker adding to the previous year’s deficit by passing bills that didn’t create a single job,” Kreitlow said.

    Walker will soon have to introduce an actual budget, which will outline spending and revenue policy for the two years between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013. And the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau — the official scorekeeper — does project that he’ll face a $3 billion shortfall. But Democrats faced a shortfall twice as large ahead of the previous budget cycle and managed to close the gap.

    “The $3 billion is a projection based on requests and forecasts, but it’s the governor who has to do the hard work of putting together a plan,” Kreitow explained. “it is just practically half of the projected deficit that we closed in the last budget bill, which we did by making serious cuts and some very deliberate choices. That’s what we expect leaders to do.” In 2009, Wisconsin Dems did get just over a billion in help from the stimulus bill, but they made up the rest by giving state agencies less money than they asked for, and through furloughs and other real austerity measures.

    “We know it could be closed again by making tough choices,” Kreitow said. “But not included in those tough choices would be stripping away labor rights that have allowed there to be labor peace in Wisconsin for over 50 years.”

  • So, speaking as someone who’s been at these protests for a total of 21 hours the past four days, I just want to know what you’re doing with this article. Each of these signs was carried by someone in solidarity with state workers, against Governor Scott Walker’s budget plan. So, is this article a satire? Are you deliberately twisting the words of protesters for fun, or to mislead people into thinking the voice of the people is in favor of this plan? Or are you so deluded as to think that what you say in this article is an accurate representation of the views of the people carrying these signs?

  • Ari, not so much a satire as an acknowledgement that many taxpayers who favor Gov. Walker’s plan feel the same way as those who don’t. We are also workers whose rights have been taken away over the years. Our families have been attacked by having to unfairly fund much of what Gov. Walker is now trying to fix.

    We all pay for this so we all have as much a stake in it. The only difference now is that as our rights as workers have been attacked over the years, we never organized and protested in Madison. We simply paid it. Now that a fix is proposed, the other side is protesting it.

    So, while I was not able to be in Madison this week, I was pleased to see signs that expressed how I feel.

    Note the one sign that I did not agree with though. No one should feel so elite that they are irreplaceable. That’s just dangerous.