Act 10 Savings of $1 Billion Draws Expected Mixed Reaction
MacIver News Service | April 24, 2012[Madison, Wisc…] In a highly-charged political climate, with recall elections only weeks away, every bit of news or policy development is seen through a partisan prism.
The announcement by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that the accumulated savings from the labor reforms instituted last year now exceeds $1 billion is no exception.
Here is a sampling of reactions to yesterday’s announcement
“The reforms we passed this session mean more money will go directly into the classrooms,” said State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills). “Before the hands of school districts were tied with locked-in costs that kept going up and up. Now there is flexibility to save money and put school children first.”
“The savings to taxpayers due to the bold reforms included in Act 10 have created stability in our state and local finances and have helped set the framework for sustainable economic growth in Wisconsin,” said State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac).
“These savings kept teachers in the classroom and helped avoid layoffs in other local and state agencies,” said State Rep. Mary Williams (R-Medford). “All this was done without raising taxes. Property taxes for the median family home went down on average for the first time in over a decade thanks to our sound fiscal approach.”
“Gov. Walker cut over $1 billion from public education, handed out billions in new corporate tax breaks and Wisconsin has the worst jobs record in the country,” said former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “It’s why one million people signed the recall petitions against him and why I’ve built the grassroots big tent that will defeat him.”
“What Walker isn’t telling the people is that he made the deepest cuts to education in Wisconsin history, our state lost nearly 1,500 teacher positions over the past year, and we still have a $140 million budget deficit even though Walker raised fees on the people of Wisconsin by $110 million,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “This isn’t a record to brag about – it’s a record that causes failed governors to be tossed from office.”
Barrett and Falk are the leading Democratic contenders to face Walker in the June 5th General Election. Their Primary is May 8th.
The Republicans trumpeted the results and the Governor’s Democratic opponents downplayed them and tried to change the subject. What about the legislature’s lone Independent?
“In 2010 prior to Act 10, Manitowoc County was cutting back on services, and laying off employees in the face of unsustainable growth in personnel costs,” said State Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (I-Manitowoc) who is also the Manitowoc County Executive.
Ziegelbauer served in the legislature as a Democratic state representative from 1992 to 2010 when he ran as an Independent.
“Since Act 10 these savings allow Manitowoc County to re-staff and reinforce, saving jobs; hold the line on property taxes while continuing to deliver high quality services; and provide stable career opportunities for employees into the future,” said Ziegelbauer, who will retire from the legislature at the end of the year.