Tea Party: Statehouse is ground zero

Viewpoint by Katharine DeBrecht from The Tea Party Review:

I find this interesting since average Florida citizens funds our state government through sales taxes. The tax cuts being discussed impact the corporations. The much discussed state employee contributions to Florida Retirement System won’t be credited to local governments – so cities and counties can’t use to rollback their property tax rates (the other big tax average citizens pay).

Nonetheless this is the latest from the Tea Party crowd:

The next critical stop in the Tea Party movement is not in Lexington or Concord. It’s at the statehouse steps, according to Katharine DeBrecht, author and staff writer for the Tea Party Review. “Over the past two years Americans of all stripes frustrated with excessive taxation, out of control spending, bailouts and failed promises of a budget-busting stimulus, took to the streets, organized campaigns, and became first-time activists with their distaste of expansive government culminating at the ballot box last November,” she said.

As a result, according to DeBrecht, a historic 19 statehouses flipped from blue to red where voters banked on candidates’ promises to get their statehouses in fiscal order. “The people spoke,” she said. “State governments have run out of other people’s money. The taxpayer who is taxed enough already is broke. It’s time to spread the sacrifice, not the wealth.”

DeBrecht says the debate in statehouses across the country centers on what she calls the haves (public sector employees) versus the have-not-but-pay-ups (taxpayers). “A majority of Americans have been forced to cut back, over 70 percent are living paycheck to paycheck and 4.3 million are behind on their mortgages. How many public sector employees are experiencing this?” wonders DeBrecht. “Americans are watching their public sector neighbors coast through the Great Recession. While they are struggling to foot the bill for the paychecks of their public sector neighbors, average Americans are being chastised for expecting their states to live within their means like everyone else.”

According to the Washington Post, state and local government employees are paid an average 45 percent more than the average private-sector employee.

“Asking the average American making $27.64 per hour who is already struggling to pay for not only their neighbor’s $39.74 per hour compensation but their lavish retirement packages as well is outrageous,” she said. While many Americans and private sector employers have cut back on 401K contributions during the recession, public sector employees can still expect lavish retirement packages and retire earlier.

DeBrecht cites a study by George Lightbourn, President of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, who notes that “A private-sector employee would have to earn about $70,000 a year before his or her retirement income would typically equal that of a public-sector employee earning $48,000.”

Public sector workers are demanding the rest of the population pay their salaries and pensions that most private sector employees will never enjoy said DeBrecht, who calls this “taxpayer-funded redistribution of wealth.”

According to the Franklin Center on Government and Public Integrity every American in the private sector owed at least $12,000 to state and local pension funds last year.

Unions are part of the problem says DeBrecht who she believes bargain for overly generous packages to boost membership to collect dues to funnel to Democrats ensuring their power.

“Taxpayer dollars on the state and federal level are being used to rob Peter to pay the Democrat,” she said noting that in 2010:

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees donated a whopping $87.5 million for Democrats

The National Education Association donated $2.2 million to Democrats.

The American Federation of Teachers donated $2.7 million to Democrats.

“Taxpayers are funding unions and a majority of democrats who are diametrically opposed to the majority of Americans who favor limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty. Unions represent only 11.9 percent of the American workforce, yet their representation in the Obama administration is glaring. While half of Obama’s cabinet members have not personally spoken to him in two years, AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka publicly boasted that he speaks with the White House everyday and visits 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a couple times a week. Who is truly being represented here?” DeBrecht asks.

DeBrecht believes the events in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio will serve as a test as to whether or not newly elected state legislatures and governors will hold firm to their campaign promises and represent the will of the majority of the American people. “Elected officials have the opportunity to rebuild trust with their constituents and show them that the voices of We the People have been heard. They either hold firm on their promises or face the consequences at the ballot box.” she said.