This pretty much sums any Wisconsin State Journal editorial on unions. Here is the Wisconsin State Journal’s latest: A triple play on local taxpayers
If taxpayers across Dane County, the city of Madison and the Madison School District were found in a corner last week muttering, “Hey, what about us?” that would be understandable.
Local elected and union officials have seized on a legal opening created recently by Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas, who ruled that key parts of Act 10 — the signature legislation passed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans in early 2011 — are unconstitutional.
In both cases, elected officials will tout “savings” resulting from the contract extensions. But what’s really happening is local officials are locking into place for a longer period of time more favorable deals for public workers. Local officials will have fewer options for protecting taxpayers and basic public services if their budgets grow markedly worse.
I’d like to point out several things:
1. You’ll note that the editorial board doesn’t cite any evidence that there aren’t any savings. All 3 contracts were responsible.
2. As for representing taxpayers, the elected representatives on the Madison City Council, the Madison School District, and the Dane County Board all have a better claim to representing the taxpayers than the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board does. Taxpayers were adequately represented in all negotiations.
3. As far as services go, you can’t just treat people like garbage and take a hatchet to their pay and expect services to maintain a high quality. Until we reach the point that the only other jobs are in sweat shops, how an employer treats their employees will matter. If the WiSJ editorial board thinks it doesn’t matter, well I’d encourage their bosses to cut their pay.
That’s apparently the way most voters in low-turnout local elections want it, because they keep electing public officials who slide around to the union’s side of the table.
Lower turnout favors county board conservatives. There is no reason to think that higher turnout would favor the kind of conservatives that the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board prefers. In fact, I’d bet that higher turnout in Dane County would make local government’s even more to the left.
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