Tag Archives: Wisconsin

WI Football Dance Off

football dance off

I admit, being a Pac 10 (now 12) fan the only time I usually see the Wisconsin team is during the Rose Bowl. Still, there’s nothing like a watching a team take its standard practice and turn it into something fun. You don’t have to like the Badgers or even football to enjoy this short dance off between teammates.

Sen Ron Johnson: Too Much Govt Hurts People

fighting government

At a time when thfighting governmentere is much finger pointing in the GOP some are looking for better ways to reach the people. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is one such person. This week he announced a “Victims of Government” project where he introduces Americans to the effects of too much government and federal regulations. The Victims of Government series is meant to portray the impact of over-regulation through real life stories.

Watch the first installment as Senator Johnson explains the cost and expense of one man who tried a common sense approach to stop flooding in his neighborhood only to be thwarted by agency upon agency. Now more than 20 years later the man has spent all his money, is still waiting on permits. . . and there is still flooding.

Share this with your friends who don’t understand the problems of mismanagement within the giant self serving government bureaucracy.

Read the press release below:

Washington, D.C. – Senator Ron Johnson (WI), Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting and Oversight today announced the release of the first installment of his Victims of Government project. The series will perform oversight of the cost and impact of unnecessary, ineffective, and excessive federal regulations. Johnson also invited anyone who has been dealing with excess regulation to submit their stories on his Senate website.

“The root cause of our economic and fiscal problems is the size, the scope, and the cost of government – all the rules, all the regulations, and all the government intrusion into our lives,” Johnson said. “The Victims of Government series is designed to demonstrate that – in a very personal and powerful way. Over-regulation consumes massive amounts of the people’s money, too often lacks common sense, has no heart, costs jobs and economic growth.”

Today Johnson released a video explaining the case of Steven Lathrop, a resident of Granite City, Illinois who has spent more than 20 years attempting to comply with federal wetlands regulations. That video can be viewed on Senator Johnson’s website here.

Johnson also announced that he and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, seeking to clarify the regulations with which Mr. Lathrop has been attempting to comply.

Johnson said, “I am pleased that Senator McCaskill has joined me in writing to the Corps of Engineers to request their assistance in addressing Steve Lathrop’s situation. Hopefully shining a little light on this awful mess will lead to a resolution that allows Steve to get on with his life, and recover some of the investment that federal involvement has cost him.”

More information regarding the Lathrop case will be available at the Victims of Government blog on Senator Johnson’s website. Senator Johnson encourages people dealing with burdensome and intrusive regulation to share their stories, and anyone interested in the cost of regulation to check the website in the future.

ObamaCare: WI Hospital Cuts 140 Positions; Lays Off 50

obamacare fallout

A Madison, Wisconsin hospital has joined the ranks of employers directly affected by ObamaCare cuts. About 50 people face unemployment, as Meriter Hospital announces layoffs. These cuts are a direct result of the decreased in payments they will receive as a result of the Medicare cuts contained within ObamaCare.

WKOW: On Tuesday, Meriter spokesperson Mary Reinke said in a statement that about 4 percent of the hospital’s 3,500 positions would be eliminated. That’s 140 positions cut, but 50 employees affected, because many of those positions are currently vacant. Some of those 50 employees among various departments will be offered jobs elsewhere in the company.

Reinke says the layoffs are a pre-emptive move to offset cuts to Medicare reimbursements put in place by the federal Affordable Care Act.

While 140 positions will be cut only 50 employees will be directly affected because the hospital had already begun leave vacant positions open in expectation of the ObamaCare restrictions.

The decrease in Medicare reimbursement will affect all hospitals but the smaller, more rural hospitals, which have a higher Medicare population will feel a greater impact.

Reinke says the layoffs are a pre-emptive move to offset cuts to Medicare reimbursements put in place by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Meriter Spokesman: Changes are inevitable.
WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Will Wisconsin Turn Red With Bart Starr Endorsement?

greenbaypackers

The Twittersphere was busy with rumors of a big Romney endorsement in Wisconsin this morning and the packed hall erupted into great cheers when they realized beloved Packer Great Bart Starr was taking the stage. The former MVP of Super Bowls I and II, spoke at a campaign event on Friday in Milwaukee.

Starr has long been known as a Republican supporter so this support of Mitt Romney is not a real surprise. Yet, the hero quarterback of this state’s cherished team may change a few hearts during these last few days before the election.

From the JSOnline: He [Starr] said Romney embodies the same qualities he has seen in stars on the football field and in the field of business. Quoting from Vince Lombardi, Starr said “integrity and excellence” are key virtues that apply to Romney.

“I just think when you look at how successful he has been everywhere he has been and what he has done, I’m very confident when elected president he will confirm and make those remarkable levels of success every-day achievements for us.”

He said America will be “electing a truly, special gentleman.”

Take a look at a few of the Tweets as Bart Starr warms up the crowd and Packer fans across the country.

Will this enthusiasm be enough to turn this state red? In four days we’ll know.

CA, WI Join the Common Sense Brigade:Election Wrap-up

Voting

June 6, 2012   Today seems brighter. It was a big election night last night. Governor Scott Walker becomes the first governor in history to survive a recall effort. It wasn’t even close. In one of the most heated and important political battles in recent history, voters overwhelmingly approved of Walker’s reform efforts, handing a big loss to the heavily funded unions. Not to sound overdramatic (oh who am I kidding? I’m an actress; it’s my thing) but Walker’s victory has now become the official battle-cry of a spending-weary American electorate. The message has been sent. Voters can no longer tolerate being the sole support for bloated public pensions and Cadillac healthcare plans when they themselves are out of work and cutting back in all areas of daily life. Have no doubt, union bosses around the country are shaking in their boots. The bell cannot be unrung. The people mean business. The tea party is not dead – it’s just come to mean something else. It’s come to mean…Americans.

If you need more proof that the tidal wave against big government is gaining momentum, look no further than the biggest of big government states, California. Two cities – San Jose and San Diego- had pension reform on their ballots last night. They both won big. Also, new taxes were pretty much uniformly voted down across the state, including Prop 29, which imposed a new $1 per pack tax on cigarettes. It was a very close vote, but in the end voters decided they just couldn’t tolerate another tax, especially one that projected to raise $750 million without any of the revenue being allocated to pay down the state’s massive debt and pension liability.

As Jon Fleischman at the flashreport.org coined it, Tuesday night was V.U. Day – Victory Over Unions!

Other important ballots I was watching in California were:

Los Angeles District Attorney: In an unexpected upset, perceived frontrunner Carmen Trutanich was denied a spot in the top two. The heavily funded L.A. City Attorney was beat out by Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey (endorsed by outgoing D.A.Steve Cooley) and Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson (endorsed by law enforcement). Lacey and Jackson will head to the runoff.

Three Fullerton City Council members were successfully recalled in response to their handling of the beating death of Kelly Thomas at the hands of Fullerton police. Fullerton residents charged that the members covered for police during the investigation.

Todd Spitzer handily won the race for Orange County Supervisor, marshaling 68% of the vote over tea party favorite Deb Pauly. The controversy surrounding the race seems over for now.

Senator Diane Feinstein will run off against Republican Elizabeth Emken. Feinstein receive 50% of the vote, while Emken reached only 13%. Emken has seen weak fundraising compared to Feinstein – hundreds of thousands as compared to Feinstein’s millions. This will be a key race to watch in the coming months. Emken could get closer if the GOP decides to throw some money and support behind her.

Proposition 29 would levy another $1 per pack tax on cigarettes to “support cancer research”. This horribly flawed proposition is projected to raise $750 million in revenue with no provision for the money to be spent within the borders of California. As of this post the vote is still being declared to close to call, even with 100% of districts reporting. The “No” vote has edged out the approval vote so far by 65,000 votes out of more than 3 million cast and with absentee ballots still arriving. This verdict could stretch out for days or weeks. I’ll update as I receive information.

Proposition 28 is a stellar example of how the wording of a proposition on the ballot and in advertising is so absolutely vital. The proposition was billed as term limits, and it asked voters to reduce the number of years lawmakers could serve in legislature from 14 years to 12 years. Currently a lawmaker can serve two 3 year terms in the House and two 4 year terms in the Senate. Prop 28 shortens the total time one can serve, but allows lawmakers to serve those 12 years in either of the houses. This leaves our capitol at even greater risk for even more entrenched, corrupt politicians. Californians instinctively know they can’t trust their representation. Most people are in favor of term limits. Who would vote against them? The wording of the Prop on the ballot was such that anyone who had not properly done their research beforehand would have most likely been inclined to vote in favor. Prop 28 passed overwhelmingly and now it will be even harder to prevent entrenched cronyism.

The “top-two” system seemed just fine. We’ll have to wait to see the real effects in the coming months. I heard few complaints about it while I was out and about talking to voters.

In all, it was a great day for America. Wisconsin showed up big time and public sector unions across the country are looking over their shoulders at the fed up tax payers. With San Diego and San Jose also voting to reform their pension systems, could it be that common sense is making a comeback in California? I won’t hold my breath for that, but it’s a start.

UPDATE: June 7, 2012 It looks like Prop 29 has been narrowly defeated. No new cigarette taxes in California.

 crossposted at kiradavis.net

The Left Unleashes: Kill Scott Walker!

In the aftermath of the progressive left’s epic fail to remove Scott Walker from office, they’re resorting to their usual petulant attitude by issuing death threats on Twitter.  Twitchy posted this story VERY early this morning and displayed the tolerant and tasteful nature of the political left.  Three cheers for discourse.

Stay Classy Liberals

 

(H/T Twitchy)

Tiananmen Square and Wisconsin

As a rule, these two places should have absolutely nothing in common. But, for the 5th of June, they both hold a place in history now – Tiananmen Square will live in infamy for the massacre in 1989, and Wisconsin for the first time a Governor survived a recall vote. I am not suggesting that there is any real way to compare these two events, other than the fact that they share the same date. Just an oddity, that was brought to my attention over the past several hours.

Tiananmen Square

mandiberg(CC)

Before the euphoria over the Walker victory, there was a little story about questionable tactics employed by a leftist organization in Wisconsin. Greater Wisconsin Political Fund apparently decided it was a good idea to send letters to voters letting them know which of their neighbors had bothered to vote in previous elections. Presumably, this was to promote the concept of peer pressure to get out the vote – the whole “keep up with the Joneses” kind of deal. Of course, they probably didn’t vet their recipients very well, because one ended up being mailed to a law professor named Ann Althouse, and she blogged about it. Of course, it also ended up on FoxNews as well, but the fact that a law professor ended up with this is far more amusing!

No, it probably isn’t illegal. Voter records are public, at least to the extent that the public can know who is registered, and who actively votes. Where do you think pollsters get their information? However, outside of potential candidates hitting the streets to get their petitions to run for office signed by registered voters, and later creating mailing lists for their junk mail, there isn’t much call for knowing voters’ personal information. And, there certainly isn’t a good reason to publicize potential voters’ past activity (or inactivity) at the polls. It’s a calculated risk, and honestly not worth the gamble. People don’t like other people prying into their business. It happens far too much already. But, hey, who am I to complain about Democrats ticking off voters?

But, I know someone from Wisconsin – a liberal who works in the political arena there – so I bothered to ask about this. I’ve known this gentleman since 1986, and he probably did play a fairly big part in making me what I am today, if only because he did influence me way back then. But, I probably had more words with him in the past 24 hours than I have in that many years. After that recent exchange, I realized very clearly that his influence was purely from the person I thought he was then, as opposed to the man he really is. I think we all have those – people we have frozen in time in our own minds, in spite of reality. The real him was highly concerned with potential voter suppression, and had no problem with using voter records in mass mailings. I almost talked myself into thinking it wasn’t a big deal because of him, until I thought about it on the larger scale. What if that same tactic was used in a national campaign? What if the Obama camp picked up on it? I have no doubt that gentleman still wouldn’t have a problem with it, but I would.

That sort of tactic is an invasion of privacy. Althouse, the law professor in Wisconsin, is right. It is disgusting. More importantly, it is not unlike the sort of thing that the students in Tiananmen Square were protesting back in 1989. I am not suggesting that one can directly compare the two by any stretch of the imagination. China has suffered under tyranny since before I was born. A nation gets to that point one of two ways – through quick and radical change, or over time by degrees. We’re not close to where China is, but we are closer to it than we were in 1989. We have been conceding little freedoms, mostly out of fear after 9/11. I’ve had liberal and conservative friends alike complain of apathy and complacency. It frustrates me the most when it comes from the liberals, since they cry that the government doesn’t do enough for the “little guy” right after they complain about the apathetic masses.

But, I had one friend on Facebook bother to mention Tiananmen Square today. Ironically enough, he was from the same era as the one now in Wisconsin, and from the opposite side of the political spectrum. His observation was that we should be ashamed of ourselves because we have not properly memorialized the deaths on June 5, 1989. These were students, seeking change in their government, and expressing a desire to have their voices heard. It took years for it to come out, but apparently they did not want to topple the party in China. They just wanted to be heard. They wanted what we have, at least in part.

So, what is a fitting memorial for that? Should we stop everything, and have a moment of silence? Should we write pages upon pages on this historical moment?

I spent the day reading back stories on the Wisconsin election. I looked up the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, and looked up that organization’s connections with other groups like One Wisconsin Now. The election is over in Wisconsin, but there’s still November to consider. And what can be lost then? We can lose a few more freedoms, end up relying a little bit more on government, and go a little farther down the road away from remaining a free country. Tiananmen Square was a tragedy. The bigger tragedy would be to allow this nation to end up remotely similar to China as far as personal freedoms are concerned. What is the fitting way to memorialize the deaths of those brave students? Fight to keep the freedoms we have, fight to regain the ones we have lost, and never stop – even if it is to take a few moments to remember the deaths of others that have died for freedom.

The End Of American Democracy

Let's Try and Get A Grip

Sadly, American democracy ended with Gov. Scott Walker’s landslide win in the Wisconsin recall election.  If this is news to you, don’t worry about it.  The far left needs to get a grip.  “The United States of America (1776-2012)”

Vindicated!

Gov. Scott Walker Survived His Recall Effort By A Landslide

Gov. Scott Walker Survived His Recall Effort By A Landslide

After the most expensive recall election in Wisconsin history, Scott Walker has soundly beaten left wing efforts to eviscerate his agenda that has returned economic vigor to the state of Wisconsin.  What should have been a titanic battle between the two competing narratives, one being deficit spending and dependency peddling advocated on the left and lowering taxes and cutting spending to balance the budget on the right, was a landslide victory for Governor Walker.

The governor wiped out a $3.6 billion dollar deficit without tax increases, reduced property taxes for the first time in twelve years, and has dropped the unemployment rate in the state to 6.7%.  He has given local school districts the flexibility to renegotiate health pans and benefits, which has produced millions in savings.  When choice and competition are interjected into the market, costs are usually reduced, therefore, a dividend for the American consumer. A concept that is anathema to the left.  Hence, mandated health care coverage via Obamacare.  Like Chris Christie, Scott Walker took a stand for what he believed in and what he thought was right for his state.  Throughout this entire debacle, Scott Walker has stuck to his principles that provided him the passion to see through to absolute victory.  A passion that was also exuded by his supporters in this election.  It proves that the strong core that conservatism produces in its followers will undoubtedly defeat the waffled convictions of the institutional left.

As for the unions in Wisconsin, and that of the larger labor union movement, I’m hoping that this will be the death knell concerning their influence in the American political process.  At the very least, tonight was a serious blow to unionized labor and demonstrated their reduced capability in executing successful political operations. According to Phil Kerpen, it’s pretty clear:

that Walker will be able to serve at least the rest of his term through 2014 and keep building on the progress made with his education and collective bargaining reforms. More broadly, Walker was able to implement such reforms in a state that President Obama won by 14 points in 2008, and ultimately win popular acceptance after an initially fierce backlash. It means that governors in states throughout the nation should no longer be afraid to take on public sector unions.

Of course, Walker’s victory is about more than public sector unions. What Walker has demonstrated is that voters will ultimately reward politicians for showing political courage on the big issues if they have the resolve to see their policies implemented and watch them succeed. Enthusiasm for Walker among his supporters was off the charts because people are more willing to fight for a leader who has actually taken a stand. As the United States faces a looming fiscal crisis due to prior generations’ unwillingness to tackle runaway spending on the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, wobbly-kneed politicians in Washington should look to Walker’s triumph in Wisconsin for inspiration.

Lastly, I would also like to thank DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for nationalizing the recall and for putting Wisconsin in the toss-up column for general election.  Needless to say, it was a very good “dry run” for Scott Walker, Mitt Romney, and the Republican Party concerning their approach to balancing budgets and getting the economy back on track.  I can’t say the same for Barack Obama.

http://www.conservativedailynews.com/2012/06/live-blog-wisconsin-recall-election-results-live-coverage/

(h/t Rich Mitchell)

Analyzing the early exit polling in the Wisconsin Recall election

walker wi background

It’s only 6:30pm and there are still 2.5 hours to go in the Wisconsin union temper tantrum.. er.. recall elections, but exit polling information is pouring in and there are interesting nuggets in the numbers.

The Washington Post is reporting that “union household comprise roughly a third of all voters” which by itself might seem promising for big labor, but when combined with a question from a Fox News exit poll .. not so much. The Fox poll asked union household voters if they supported Walker or not. 37% of union household voters support Scott Walker. This is the base of support for the recall election and only 63% of one-third (only 21%) of voters would vote for Tom Barret signalling a weak showing for Walker’s opponent.

A surprising result from a CBS News exit poll was that 51% of recall voters would support Obama in the 2012 presidential election while only 45% support Romney. Initially the gap seems wide until history is examined. Obama defeated Senator McCain by 14 points in the 2008 election.  Romney has also been gaining lately in battleground states like Wisconsin.

This recall was started in response to Gov. Walker’s limiting of unions to collectively bargain with the state government. On that question, 50% of Wisconsin voters support the governer while 48% do not.

Perhaps the most important question in the poll was one that asked if the voters were voting for their candidate out of support or if the were voting for their candidate simply as a protest vote against the other candidate. Roughly 90% of Walker voters did so out of support for him while only 53% of Barrett’s voters did the same while 45% voted for him as a protest against Scott Walker. This signals more enthusiasm for Governor Walker and will likely show up in the vote totals when the polls closed.

As a more subjective indication of how the recall may go, Politico is reporting that the White House position is that today’s election means nothing for November. Press Secretary Jay Carney said that “the president is aware of the election. I think he’s got some other responsibilities.I know that he’s not following it minute by minute … You know that he tweeted about it earlier.” A clear indication that the Obama administration does not see a win for Mayor Barrett – as if Obama not bothering to campaign for Barrett wasn’t enough.

Other data from the exit polls were less indicative of a result, but interesting none-the-less:

  • Partisan identification is roughly even at one-third each Republican, Democrat and Independent
  • 54% think government should be limited, 42% believe it should do more
  • 60% said that recall elections should only be done in the case of official misconduct

Californians Face Primary Voting Today: Races to Watch

california-flag-bear

Tuesday, June 5

Californians head to the polls today to vote in primary elections and the ballots will be longer than voters have seen in the past. That is because new ballot rules goes into effect this election cycle. Under the new “top-two” system, party affiliations are removed from candidates and voters will have the opportunity to choose from any candidate from any party. The top two winners will then square off in the November elections. This applies to all races except the Presidential race.

There are only two propositions on the ballot this cycle:

Prop 28 has been billed as “term limits” legislation but technically lengthens the amount of time legislators can serve. Currently legislators are limited to two 3-year terms in the Assembly and two 4-year terms in the Senate. That’s a total of 14 years a politician can serve in the legislature. Prop 28 reduces that limit to 12 years but allows lawmakers to serve that 12 years in either house.

Prop 29 levies a new $1 per pack cigarette tax to raise money for “cancer” research. Opponents say it creates a new bureaucracy and doesn’t allocate taxes to be spent within the borders California. So far polling on the measures shows Californians in favor of passing both.

A couple of other races to watch in California today:

In Orange County the heated, controversial race for County Supervisor between “establishment” Republican Todd Spitzer and “Tea Party” candidate Deb Pauly will come to a head. Both Spitzer and Pauly have thrown out contentious, serious allegations of misconduct against each other. Pauly was ousted as vice-chair of the OC Republican Party just days ago and Spitzer has been running from a record in which he increased pensions.

The Senate race, where Republican Elizabeth Emken will join 23 other candidates to take on the heavily funded Diane Feinstein

The race for District Attorney in Los Angeles, where Republican Alan Jackson will try to force a run-off against Carmen Trutanich. Trutanich (D) has faced accusations of corruption and bullying, but has raised twice the funds of Jackson.

Two local elections are mirroring what is happening in Wisconsin today. In San Diego and San Jose voters will be asked to decide on pension reforms in order to reign in the city budgets. Predictably, unions have been fighting the measures in both cities. The results will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the state, as California faces an $85 billion unfunded pension liability in the coming years.

California currently does not have any of those pesky, racist voter identification laws so vote early, vote often.

You can follow election results live at the Orange County Register . I’ll also be doing a live, remote show from a special location to be disclosed at showtime, so tune into the Dark Side with Kira Davis at 7:00 p.m. Pacific.

US 41 Corridor Could be the Key to Wisconsin Election

ScottWalker

As folks head to the polls today, it could be the evenly split voters in Fox Valley who make the difference.

In an article in the Appleton PostCressent, Lawrence University political scientist Arnold Shober said, “Barrett will do wonderfully in Dane County, just like Walker will carry Waukesha and Washington County, but up here in the Fox Valley, we’re truly one of the few areas that is split 50-50.”

The Fox Valley is made up of many union-represented public employees who feel abandoned by Gov. Walker’s public sector union reforms, and by many business people who have cheered on his efforts.

Over 206,000 absentee ballots have already been cast in the contest, but when the polls close today it may well be those voters from Fond du Lac to Green Bay who swing the election.

Gov. Scott Walker Will Survive

Scott_walker-2010

Gov. Scott Walker's Political Career Will Be Decided June 5th

On June 5th, the battle will be over.  Will citizens of the Badger State vote to keep their ongoing prosperity or revert back to the old policies that drained the state of economic vigor?  Currently, the massive multi-billion dollar budget deficit has been balanced, unemployment is down, and property taxes have decreased for the first time in over ten years.  Hence, the reason why Gov. Scott Walker has maintained a healthy lead over his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee mayor, Tom Barrett.   This will mark the second time unions have tried to alter the balance of power in Madison.  The first being the $35 million dollar state senate recall election last summer that saw Republicans maintain control of the chamber.   After all mainstream media coverage and the protesting inside the capitol, the results of that election were the very definition of anti-climatic. Now, with this effort to oust Gov. Walker himself, I expect the same result, but with far more political ramifications.

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has called this recall election a “dry run” for Obama come November.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN: If the Republican governor should retain his seat up there, what will it say about the power of unions who have been fighting him and what will it say about putting Wisconsin in play this fall?

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I am going there Tuesday to campaign with Mayor Barrett. I think that he has a real opportunity to win. We have put our considerable grassroots resources behind him. All of the Obama for America and state party resources, our grassroots network is fully…

CROWLEY: But are there national implications?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: … engaged. And — well, I think what’s going to happen is that because of our on-the-ground operation, we have had an opportunity in this election, because especially given that Wisconsin is a battleground state, just like we did in the recall elections a year ago, to give this a test run.

And so what I think the implications will be is that ultimately I think Tom Barrett will pull this out, but regardless it has given the Obama for America operation an opportunity to do…

CROWLEY: Test run it.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: … the dry run that we need of our massive, significant, dynamic grassroots presidential campaign, which can’t really be matched by the Romney campaign or the Republicans because they’ve ignored on the ground operations.

I think Ms. Schultz and the rest of the institutional left are going to be disappointed this coming Tuesday.   Radio host Tony Katz gave his insight, and took down former Sen. Byron Dorgan in the process, into the absurdity surrounding this recall.  Stating how this “dry run” is costing the Wisconsin taxpayer another $20 million dollars and how Walker’s fiscal reforms are exactly what America is yearning  for in this anemic economic recovery thanks to the Obama administration. However, let’s see why the far left thinks Gov. Scott Walker is so evil.

 

Well, he attacked the parasitic relationship between government and public sector unions and curbed their collective bargaining rights.  That sounds scary,  but as Peter Ferrara wrote in The American Spectator, it was solely directed towards salary negotiations.  It didn’t touch benefits or safety regulations and rules.  It gave the local county governments the buffer it needed to maximize efficiency and curb deficits without laying off workers or putting the distribution of state services at risk.  How much of a difference would that make?

According to Ferrera, “since Walker’s reforms removed benefits from collective bargaining, government employers were freed to turn to competitive bidding on the open market, where many have found their coverage at substantially reduced costs. For school districts so far, the savings from this competitive bidding alone have amounted to $211.47 per student. Statewide that would add up to nearly $200 million in savings.”

This new economic elasticity derived from Gov. Walker’s reforms has benefited the Wisconsin taxpayer in other ways.  Indeed, “the state has also used this flexibility to halt fraudulent sick leave abuses that unions used to inflate overtime expenses. Workers had called in sick for their own shifts, and then worked the next shift on overtime pay. School districts have also been freed to pay teachers based on performance and not just seniority, and to keep better performing teachers rather than longer term time servers who have long given up caring about their job performance.”  Now we know why teachers were so irate.  After all, interjecting competition into a cartel, which is what a union is at its heart, inevitably leads to dissolution and “what a shame that would be for our children.”

Gov. Scott Walker also decided to put the lid on the cookie jar.  As Chris Christie has done in New Jersey, he made public employee unions contribute more to their pensions and health care plans.  Unlike what unionized labor may tell you, the contributions are beyond modest.  Ferrera writes:

After all the yelling and screaming in Wisconsin, in the end these government workers were only required to contribute 5.8% of their salaries towards their pensions, which is matched by their government employers (taxpayers), and 12.6% of the costs of their health insurance, with the other 87% paid by taxpayers. This compares to private sector workers paying on average 21% of the cost of their company health insurance, with most private sector workers having no pension at all.

The state budget reforms also made payment of union dues voluntary for government workers, empowering these workers to each decide for themselves if they want to be full dues paying members of the public employee unions. That is a potential savings for families of $1,000 a year for each government worker in the family. This forces the public unions to focus on serving their members and convincing each one that their services are worth the dues, just like every other private sector institution in American society.

After seeing union leadership blow $35 million in a state senate recall election, I WOULD HOPE those employees would be ecstatic seeing their dues be spent responsibly, or better yet, opted to keep more of their hard earned money.  In conclusion, the results have been “disastrous.”  A whopping $1 billion in savings in the first year alone with not one one cent raised in taxes to balance the budget.

Concerning property taxes, an issue that forced my family to flee New Jersey, the rates have fallen for the first time in twelve years. According to the Wall Street Journal:

the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin’s municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state’s largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner’s bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker’s collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts.

The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state’s take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. In absolute terms homeowners won’t see large dollar benefits year over year, but any hold-the-line tax respite is both rare and welcome in this age of ever-expanding government.

The real gains will grow as local school districts continue repairing and rationalizing their budgets using the tools Mr. Walker gave them. Those include the ability to renegotiate perk-filled teacher contracts and requiring government workers to contribute more than 0% to their pensions. A year ago amid their sit-ins and other protests, the unions said such policies would lead to the decline and fall of civilization, but the only things that are falling are tax collections.

As the new jobs report showed we only added 69,000 jobs last May and prompting the unemployment rate to go up to 8.2%, Wisconsin has seen its level of unemployment fall below the national average.  As Jason L. Riley of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is 6.7%…according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state added more than 23,000 jobs last year. And a recent survey found that Wisconsin employers were eager to hire—an indication that Mr. Walker’s policies have made the state more business-friendly.”

With unemployment down, property taxes at its lowest in over a decade, a $3.6 billion dollar budget deficit completely wipe out, and $1 billion in savings; I  hope the smart Wisconsin voter would know who to vote for and who saved them from economic catastrophe.  That narrative has gained traction with Gov. Scott Walker leading Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett 52%-45%.  The far left and some elements in the mainstream media have tried to put forth this “war on workers” narrative aimed at Gov. Scott Walker and conservatives. That is grossly, spectacularly, and demonstratively wrong.  We’re freeing union workers to make decisions with their own finances.  As a result, union membership has dropped, not due to belligerent smashing tactics, but because it removed the coercive nature of union dues and membership.  As Investors Business Daily aptly noted, it’s really big labor vs. taxpayers in this fight.  Big labor being a cornerstone of support for a particular left-leaning party and its effete leader who currently occupies the White House.  In all, these reforms:

 Together…ensure that unions can’t deliver much in the way of economic benefits, and they give workers a way to respond accordingly. They present workers with an easy choice: When dues don’t buy you anything and they compete with the cable bill, why pay them? So it’s no surprise that the unions now appear to be losing members — and, of course, money. According to the Wall Street Journal, membership in the Wisconsin branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees fell from 62,818 last March to 28,745 this February

That’s a good thing. This isn’t a war on workers, but a liberation of them.  This isn’t the fall of Wisconsin, but the resurrection of it.  I’m confident Gov. Scott Walker will remain the state’s chief executive and thereby vindicating his agenda.  In the process, hopefully, giving unionized labor the knock out punch that leads to the day where the American taxpayer can celebrate in their final destruction.  This is a test run madame chairwoman and I expect it will be the harbinger that lifts our nominee to the White House and initiate a Wisconsinite reform of Washington D.C come January 2013.

(h/t Tony Katz)

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