Walker’s Wisconsin Isn’t Working
When Gov. Scott Walker took office a year ago, he promised to create 250,000 jobs by the end of the first term. But the unfortunate truth is that Walker has the worst jobcreation record of all 50 governors.
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Walker’s Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012, the highest percentage of job losses in the nation.
No wonder why Walker’s facing a historic recall.
But Walker isn’t talking about Wisconsin’s employment free-fall as he campaigns around the state to save his own job.
Walker is talking about the $1 billion Wisconsin has allegedly “saved” because of his attack on public employees (just the public employees who didn’t support him in 2010, of course, not all public employees).
Note that these “savings” primarily are coming out of workers’ paychecks—about $3,000 cut from the average public employee’s annual salary. That diminished earning power, of course, leads to reduced spending in local communities—at restaurants, grocery stores, shops and entertainment venues. And that reduced demand then leads to layoffs and little to no new hiring.
And another thing about Walker’s “savings” from Act 10: They’re really difficult to verify. For example, Walker is claiming that the city of Milwaukee saved $25 million because of Act 10. The real number is closer to $14.9 million of Act 10 savings, said Mark Nicolini, the city’s budget and management director. The city saved another $5 million from changes to the police and firefighters’ health care plans, a change made possible by a provision added to the state budget by the Legislature. It also made about $9.6 million of its own cuts to employee benefits— none of which were related to Walker’s Act 10, Nicolini said.
He also noted that the city lost about $14 million in state shared revenue, transportation aids and the state recycling grant.
Milwaukee Public Schools shows a similar discrepancy. While Walker is claiming that MPS has saved $21 million, an MPS spokesman said Act 10 savings in the 2011-2012 school year total $2.4 million and an estimated $7.7 million in the 2012-2013 school year.
MPS won’t be able to achieve any Act 10-related “savings” for teachers until the 2013-2014 school year, when their contract expires.
Walker can try to spin his record, but Wisconsinites know that they won’t be fooled again.