Walker’s performance since then has validated the worst of their fears. When Walker took office in 2011, Wisconsin faced a looming $3.6 billion structural deficit, largely as a result of former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle’s constant pandering to unions.
Governor Walker’s modest “Budget Repair Bill,” now known as Act 10, proposed that union members contribute a mere 12.6 percent to their health care premiums (they were paying between 4 and 6 percent), and 5.8 percent toward pensions, where they had previously contributed almost nothing. He also proposed curbs on collective bargaining rights.
These modest changes—accomplished without raising taxes—transformed the budget deficit to a surplus of approximately $89 million by 2012. School districts, whose education bureaucrats almost uniformly opposed Walker’s reforms, nonetheless immediately took advantage of them and quickly recognized savings of $220 million. As of 2014, Walker has signed three major tax cuts into law, totaling $2 billion. The latest, signed in March 2014, reduced both income and property tax rates by a total of $504 million. Walker’s ultimate goal is to eliminate the income tax entirely.
Last week, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development reported that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate now stands at 5.7 percent, the lowest rate since October 2008 and lower than the national average (6.3 percent). Grasping at straws, Walker’s Democratic opponents point out that Wisconsin has not realized Walker’s goal of seeing 250,000 new private sector jobs created during his first term. However, the Workforce Development report notes that the 116,000 new private sector jobs that have been created “is the largest three-year December-to-December private sector job growth seen under a single Governor this century, according to actual job counts.” Finally, when Walker took office, Wisconsin’s business climate was rated as one of the worst in the count—41st out of 50 states—by Chief Executive Magazine. It has since zoomed to 14th place.
Ever self-conscious that their ruinous, conspicuously self-serving policies don’t play well with the public who pays for them, Democrats have been burning up printing presses, melting Internet cables, and screaming “criminal scheme” to the heavens in an obvious effort to derail Walker’s reelection prospects this coming November, and destroy any prospects he may have in the 2016 presidential elections.
Always looking out for the little guy, those Democrats.
This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: Gateway Technical College (Flickr)
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.