Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Mary Burke would have enacted the Act 10 reforms the nice way

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Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke is claiming that she could have achieved the savings of Governor Scott Walker’s reform Act 10 through collective bargaining. As I explain over the MacIver Institute, that may sound good in a focus group, but it sounds insane to anyone who was paying attention from the time Governor Scott Walker took office until the attempted recall.

She said, “I think it was only fair to ask for contributions to health care and to pensions, um, but I think those could have been negotiated, ah certainly firmly but fairly.”

Negotiated with whom? Was Burke paying attention in 2010-2011? What Burke said probably sounds nice in a focus group setting but it sounds terribly naïve given what was happening at both the state and local levels.

Using Burke’s approach, Wisconsin would still be bouncing from one budget crisis to the next as it did under Governor Jim Doyle, the administration in which Burke served. If those concessions were necessary and could be achieved through negotiations, then why didn’t she urge Doyle to try to “firmly and fairly” negotiate those concessions while she served in his administration? Because it would have been a one-way conversation with no results.

WISN-AM’s Jay Weber discussed my column this morning on his show which you can hear on the show podcast. The discussion begins at the 6:21 mark.

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