Today Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) commended Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and House Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald for their principled backing of collective bargaining reform. Their unwavering support came in the face of intense, well-funded backlash from labor unions and their allies in the White House.

The bill, which passed the House this afternoon and is headed to Gov. Walker’s desk, will help address the state’s $3.6 billion overspending problem by requiring public employees to pay a more realistic share of their pension and health benefits and by eroding some aspects of collective bargaining for government employees. It also ends the practice of automatically deducting union dues from government employee paychecks.

ATR President Grover Norquist released the following statement:

“I commend Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald and Jeff Fitzgerald for their unwavering commitment to the people of Wisconsin in standing up to a handful of union bosses. This is what an electoral mandate looks like. Republicans campaigned on these commonsense reforms leading into November, won the election, and are carrying out their promises. But to do it in this environment, with the White House and its Big Labor allies throwing everything they have into the fight against reform, proves that these Wisconsin Republicans have steel in their spines.

“Wisconsin is in an economic hole, and collective bargaining is a fiscal issue. By soliciting shared sacrifice from government unions and bending the compensation cost curve downward, Gov. Walker and Republicans in the legislature are ensuring that they can balance Wisconsin’s budget without painful tax increases.

“Democrats have decided the electoral drubbing of 2010 does not present a clear enough mandate for change. Instead, they literally fled the state while President Obama’s allies planned to bankroll an effort to remove from office those Republicans who won a democratic election just four months ago.

“The Republicans, on the other hand, decided to get down to the task of governing. Hats off to these heroes of the conservative movement.”