Labor unions help balance budget
Members of two labor unions -- AFSCME and SPOC -- deserve the thanks of their fellow Iowans for voluntarily sacrificing a portion of their wages to help balance the state budget. These hard-working public employees have proven again that not only are they part of the backbone of our state's economy; they are also important members of Iowa's neighborhoods and communities.
The deepening national recession wasn't caused by hard-working Iowans, but they are paying the price for the greed of Wall Street executives and multinational corporations. It is unfortunate that AFSCME and SPOC members and other middle-class Iowans must now sacrifice their hard-fought earnings to clean up budget problems caused by a national and international economy that valued unchecked wealth over hard work, self-interest over sacrifice and self-indulgence over responsibility.
Many in our communities have lost their jobs. Families are struggling to make ends meet. Everybody is cutting back -- and that goes for state government, too.
For all those reasons, Republicans and Democrats in the Statehouse must redouble our efforts to balance next year's state budget responsibly and continue building a new foundation for prosperity in every Iowa community. That means:
· Helping create good-paying jobs that will strengthen and expand Iowa's middle class.
· Protecting services and educational opportunities for unemployed workers, as well as services for children and the most vulnerable Iowans.
· Continuing to listen to our constituents to ensure that the best ideas are used to improve government services and balance the budget responsibly in these tough economic times.
Mike Gronstal, Senate Majority Leader