Friday, December 9th, 2016

Meanwhile, back at the Milwaukee County Pension scandal

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The unions are not happy that County Executive Chris Abele and the County Board tried to limit the pension “backdrop” benefit. As I explain at the MacIver Institute this week, the unions are resorting to their favorite tactics when they don’t get their way – they’re suing.

It was a benefit Milwaukee County’s employee unions never asked for, but now they are fighting to keep it the unchanged. Three public employee unions, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, and the Association of Milwaukee County Attorneys are suing Milwaukee County to try to reverse the decision by the County Board last year to limit the infamous pension backdrop payments.

If the unions win, county employees could face higher pension costs and even layoffs, while newer employees may have to pay more to subsidize the retirements of more senior county employees.

Abele expressed his frustration with the unions and their decision to sue:

In an interview, Abele expressed his frustration with the unions’ decision to sue. “We don’t have some magical volcano that erupts money,” he said.

Abele does not concede that the unions have any chance of winning their lawsuit. “I have a hard time seeing a path for the unions to prevail on this.”

However, if they did win, “It’s going to cost us money, all of us money, that could go to services,” Abele said.

Will there be possible layoffs? “If they won, sure, it will have to come from somewhere,” Abele said. “State law does not allow us to raise taxes – thank god. ”

Abele warned that the effect of the unions winning would be, “either cutting services or borrowing more, neither of which are taxpayer friendly.”

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