Eight years ago, Governor Doyle was going to take on the unions
Scott Walker is not the first governor who promised to take on the state employee unions. That would have been Governor Jim Doyle. However, Doyle did not seem be interested in really having a fight with the unions.
He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I think we should be trying to get back to the level that (former Gov.) Tommy (Thompson) had, when he took over in the 1980s – it’s about 15,000 additional employees hired during this time. I’m setting that target right now.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put the estimated cut a little lower at 10,261.
So who was that crazy radical right-winger with the crackpot idea of saving the state taxpayers’ money by shrinking the size of the state employee workforce?
Who was that Tea Party fanatic even before there was a Tea Party movement?
It was Wisconsin Attorney General Jim Doyle, who was still running for the Democratic nomination for governor against Milwaukee Congressman Tom Barrett and Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. Despite the anger of the state employee unions (although nobody compared Doyle to a slave owner), Doyle did win his party’s nomination and went on to win the general election.
Eight years later, Wisconsin has 69,356 state employees, or 2,116 more employees than when Doyle announced his goal of reducing the state work force.
Doyle now leaves the job to his successor.