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Minnesota Governor Urges Lawmakers To Cut Benefits For Government Union Employees

December 15, 2010 by  

Minnesota governor urges lawmakers to cut benefits for government union employeesMinnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has called on Congress to join his effort in reducing benefit packages for government employees.

According to FOX News, Pawlenty urged other lawmakers to cut future pension plans for government unions. He claimed that his state will save approximately $2 billion because of a reduction in benefits. He warned that the United States will face a combined $3 trillion in unfunded benefit liabilities if they do not stop the "silent coup" from government-employee unions.

"You have public employees making more than their private-sector counterparts. They used to be under-benefited and underpaid. Now they're both over-benefited and overpaid," Pawlenty, a Republican, told the news source. "Their post-retirement benefits and salaries and pensions are really one of the driving forces of the financial troubles of cities and counties and school districts and states all across this country, and it needs to stop."

Pawlenty, who will leave office next month and has been rumored as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2012, has praised President Barack Obama for proposing a two-year freeze on Federal employee wages. In a column for The Wall Street Journal, Pawlenty said that employees in the public sector should not have defined benefit plans, but instead should have systems like the 401(k), which is subject to the stock market's performance.

John Gage, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said that Obama's pay freeze is a "superficial panic reaction" that will do little to reduce the deficit. During a press conference last week, Gage said that the freeze will negatively affect low-income employees, such as nursing assistants and border patrol agents. 

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