A New Way of Messaging

The Forward Institute is going to change the way public policy messaging and strategy in Wisconsin is developed. The Wisconsin Retirement System is a current issue we are developing research and messaging around. The facts come first. Unlike some “think tanks,” we don’t create the message and cherry pick the facts to suit our informational campaigns. We don’t consider the media to be a source, unlike some other “think tanks,” unless it is a noted expert that can be sourced back to original material.

Forward Institute draws on factual information and data to build a messaging framework that people will understand and relate to. Background research and sources can be found on the “Research” page. These are issues that directly affect everyone in “Our Wisconsin.” For example, the promise of security after a lifetime of service.

Wisconsin’s public employers help workers save for retirement by deferring part of their compensation to a retirement fund. When you choose a career in the public sector, you understand that your wages will remain modest. But you get a promise in return—that the money taken out of your paycheck will be there when you retire. You deserve the income you were promised to meet your needs?  In our Wisconsin, we don’t break our promises. We honor dedication, honesty and fairness.

Our Wisconsin Pension system is sound, and responsibly managed. Wisconsin’s pension fund is uniquely designed for stability. The risks and rewards of fund investments are shared between employees, retirees and taxpayers, with taxpayers bearing only 25% of the risk.  For the past four years, retired public employees have gotten less and employees now pay more.  The Walker administration’s own study concluded that changing the system could raise costs for everyone.  We don’t need higher brokerage fees and more fund administrators. Our state retirement system is working—for everyone.

Our Wisconsin Pension system should be available to all – to strengthen the system, lower the risk, and continue to strengthen investment in Wisconsin. Unlike private investment companies, our pension fund commits to investing in Wisconsin companies, ranging from start-ups to those employing 20 or more—to the tune of $12 billion in 2010.  Jobs are also created by retiree spending. Each dollar invested by taxpayers provides $6.22 in economic activity—a ripple effect that supported more than 35,000 jobs in 2010—the difference between an unemployment rate of 8.5% and 9.6%.  Why ship our money to Wall Street brokers?  Our communities suffer when we spend less. In our Wisconsin, what’s earned in Wisconsin, stays in Wisconsin.

Sources can be found on our Research page. Comments are welcome!