March 2011

Wisconsin judge declares union law not in effect

Today, a Wisconsin judge ruled that the state’s new collective bargaining law was not in effect.  The decision comes just as Governor Walker’s administration is preparing to deduct money from state employees’ pay checks to pay more into their health care and pensions. The law would also strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights.

To read the complete article at the Denver Post go to: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_17741802

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Assault on the Middle Class

Check out this new column from Michael Linden about the U.S. House of Representative’s spending bill would cut services that middle-class families rely on, including: education; mass transit; road building; workplace safety; law enforcement and inspections of food, drugs and consumer products.

Click here to read the full column at the Center for American Progress’ website.

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Denver Post: One-fourth of Colorado banks ailing

According to a new survey, Colorado banks are hurting. One in four banks in Colorado are ‘troubled or problematic institutions’. The national average is 12.8 percent. 

To read the full article at the Denver Post’s website, click here.


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Pueblo Chieftain: CMHIP CIRCLE program spared – for now

Yesterday, the Joint Budget Committee spared the Circle Program at the Colorado
Mental Health Institute at Pueblo from elimination. CIRCLE is a 90-day, last resort drug treatment program.

The Colorado State Legislature hasn’t passed the budget for 2011-12, so it is still possible that the CIRCLE program could be eliminated. To read the complete story [click here].

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Wall Street Journal: Public workers rush to retire

See the Journal’s coverage on how budget cuts, pay and benefit cuts are triggering public employees to retire. While at first blush this may seem all positive, the reality is that many states, including Colorado, are losing veteran, experienced workers who are critical to quality public safety, education, health and other essential services.

According to the Wall Street Journal, some 5,500 Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) members retired last year, a 20 percent increase.

To read the complete article, [click here].

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Colorado Statesman: Mesa State bill fails in Senate committee

“Mesa State’s effort to free itself of the state personnel system came to
a halt on Wednesday, when the Senate State, Veterans and Military
Affairs Committee voted along party lines to postpone House Bill 1007
indefinitely.”

To read the complete article in the Colorado Statesman about the failure of the bill, click here.

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Despite large gains in economic productivity, wages lag behind

A new issue brief from the Economic Policy Institute questions the focus on recent debates about whether private or public-sector workers earn more. The report points to compelling evidence that the real issue is why all worker wages have stagnated over the past few decades despite big gains in economic productivity.

According to the report, from 1989 to 2010 U.S. productivity grew 62.5% while real hourly wages for both private and public sector worker grew just 12%. From 1989 to 2007, the richest 1% of Americans received 56% of all income growth.

It seems clear that most workers, public and private are hurting, so why haven’t our elected leaders taken action to help Colorado families?

To read the complete brief, to go: http://epi.3cdn.net/3b7a1c34747d141327_4dm6bx8ni.pdf

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New report: State worker compensation isn’t driving state budget deficits

A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that the Great Recession, not state employee compensation, is driving state budget deficits.  The report found that employee compensation (wages, benefits) have actually decreased slightly over the past twenty years and that the short-term budget deficits that states face are primarily a result of the Great Recession.  

The report also found that state workers are actually underpaid relative to private-sector workers and that claims that public-sector pensions will bankrupt state and local governments are exaggerated.

To read the complete report, go to: www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2011/03/pdf/statebudgetissuebrief.pdf

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Statewide budget listening tour, Sat. March 19th

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This Saturday, Colorado State House and Senate Democrats are holding
budget listening sessions across the state. This is your opportunity to tell them what you think is important to fund in
the state budget.
It’s critical that you make your voice heard as big cuts
are expected for essential state services, including education, public safety,
health services and higher education and to the employees who provide these
services.  

[Click here]
for a list of the meetings and locations this Saturday.

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CSU proposes raising tuition by 20 percent

Citing the recession and budget cuts, Colorado State University leaders propose raising tuition by 20 percent. According to University officials, state support used to cover two-thirds of the cost, but now covers over one-third.

The proposed tuition increases must still be approved by the Colorado Legislature and the CSU Board of Governors.

To read the complete story at the Fort Collins Coloradoan’s website, [click here].

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