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Budget Protests and the Financial Impact on Our Family

While the federal budget proposal [1] has a big impact on all of our finances, it’s our state budget bill that is hitting close to home this week.

Our new governor rolled out a budget proposal to increase pension and health care contributions and eliminate almost all of the state unions.

For the second day in a row, our schools are closed and thousands of state employees are protesting.

I’ve seen many of my friends get into heated debates about the situation and even President Obama is monitoring the tensions [2].

I’m pretty private about politics, so I tend to avoid this type of discussion with friends and family, but there are some interesting financial impacts for us as a family.

My Husband’s Job

As many of you know, my husband, Scott, works for the university, and has been furloughed for the past two years [3] as Wisconsin, like many other states [4], tries to solve our budget deficit.

While he is impacted by the benefit cuts, he is not part of a union.

What does it mean for us financially?

We’re projecting that Scott will receive an effective pay cut of 8%. The furloughs and rescinded pay raises were a 5% pay cut for the last two years. The percentages will be stacked together this spring.

For our personal situation the furloughs the last few years have worked well, since it gave my husband more time off and maintained our benefits, while helping to balance the budget and avoid layoffs for everyone involved.

What’s next?

We’ve made it no secret that my husband works for health insurance [5]. As the benefits landscape may be changing significantly, we’re definitely focusing on the health insurance portion of the bill.

With less and less reliance on Scott’s job to provide health insurance and Scott being required to work more in the future, I feel like the outcome of the budget bill may impact some of our future plans.

We just found out about this a few days ago, so I haven’t had much time to start crunching numbers yet, but I’m sure that I will be, and I’ll keep you posted on my thought process….



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