One thing not-so-stealthy Democrat Mary Burke still isn’t talking about is whether she would attempt to repeal the Act 10 collective bargaining reforms enacted by Governor Walker and a two-house Republican legislative majority.
That’s probably a prudent decision on her part. She could get the activist Left out in the streets again with a pledge to go back to the pre-Act 10 status quo of public employee unions dictating the terms of state and local government finance, but the idea might not have so much appeal among the voters who pay the bills.
It will have even less appeal now, in light of a report last week from the MacIver Institute. They’ve crunched the numbers and found that if the Act 10 reforms had not been enacted, Wisconsin taxpayers would have seen at least an additional $2.7 billion drained from their wallets since 2011.
The bulk of the taxpayer savings result directly from pension contributions and health insurance premiums no longer being a free ride for public employees. The Act 10 changes require them to contribute to their own benefits, just like the private sector workers whose tax money provides the public employees’ income.
As a matter of sound political practice, Mary Burke—and any other candidate for state office in 2014, Democrat, Republican or what-have-you—should be made to answer whether they would reverse that situation and go back to the way things were pre-Act 10.
That there are officeholders who would turn back the clock was demonstrated last week when an elected Dane County judge made up a new excuse to sabotage the Walker reforms and Wisconsin’s attorney general had to ask two appellate courts for orders to allow Act 10’s provisions to be carried out.
As we said, be careful who you vote for.