Like his fellow Republicans who are up for recall, Wisconsin State Senator Dan Kapanke is defending his seat on the idea that State Senate Democrats abandoned their duties by boycotting the union-stripping vote, and that Republicans have saved the state money. "Tired of Senate Democrats cowardly games, we found a way to pass a law ending special rules for government employee unions that were costing Wisconsin millions," he writes in a fundraising appeal today, emphasis his.
At a certain point, though, all that cutting means you lose real jobs -- real and actual jobs held by real and actual people in Wisconsin.
Consider the case of Milwaukee County, where Scott Walker was the county executive before he became governor. Part of what he did was to wrangle bigger contributions for health care from county workers, the way his statewide union-stripping law does. But the rest of the Governor Walker's plan calls for big cuts in aid to the counties, and Milwaukee can't anymore just ask the employees to chip in -- they've already done that. "[A] main premise of the new state budget paradigm - that reductions in wages and benefits realized via the budget-repair bill would allow local government leaders to offset the loss of state aids - almost certainly will not pan out for Milwaukee County in 2012," a nonpartisan think tank reports.
Governor Walker's budget has sent his old Milwaukee County $21 million deeper into the hole. The Journal Sentinel lists proposals for closing that gap, from laying off 617 people -- including a quarter of the zoo and parks staff -- to cutting mass transit and senior centers.