By Forbes contributor Patrick Gleason -
Five years ago today, protestors filled Wisconsin’s state capitol and Democratic state senators were hiding out across the border in Illinois to block a vote on Act 10, the landmark entitlement reform package ultimately signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in March of 2011.
A half decade after this historic legislative battle – in which President Obama himself weighed in, while AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka, Randi Weingarten, and other national union bosses directed tens of thousands of union protestors to descend upon Madison – it’s a good time to look at the legacy and real world impact of Act 10.
The good news for Wisconsin taxpayers is that despite the millions of dollars in damage that union muscle and college students did to Wisconsin’s capitol building while protesting, the policy changes implemented by Act 10 ultimately saved taxpayers billions.
Like North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin was a state where, following a lengthy period of Democrat rule, Republicans took control of all levers of state government in the 2010 midterm elections. Confronting a more than $3 billion budget deficit upon taking office in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators responded with Act 10, also referred to as the Budget Repair Act, which helped put Wisconsin’s finances in order by doing the following:
- Limits collective bargaining to wage negotiations, and requires annual union recertification.
- Requires government worker pay increases in excess of the rate of inflation be subject to voter approval.
- Ends automatic deduction of union dues, requiring union bosses to make the case to workers why they should join and financially support a union.
- Requires government workers to start contributing something toward their health insurance and retirement savings.
The rest in Forbes -