Recall eve: New Wisconsin collective bargaining law will save Milwaukee millions in health-care costs

posted at 10:12 pm on August 8, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via John McCormack at the Standard. Tomorrow’s Recall Day, so here’s a little gasoline in the turnout engine for Hot Air readers in Wisconsin.

The city projects it will save at least $25 million a year – and potentially as much as $36 million in 2012 – from health care benefit changes it didn’t have to negotiate with unions, as a result of provisions in the 2009-’11 budget-repair measure that ended most collective bargaining for most public employees.

That saving would be partly offset by about $14 million in cuts in state aid to the city in the 2011-’13 state budget, down from earlier estimates of more than $17 million.

As a result, the city would come out with a net gain of at least $11 million for its 2012 budget, slicing into the “structural deficit” created by costs rising faster than revenue, and reducing the spending cuts that Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council must impose…

At that time, Barrett said the combination of aid cuts, rising expenses, a property tax levy freeze and exempting public safety workers from health care and pension benefit changes “just makes our structural deficit explode.”

“It’s a false question,” Barrett said when asked whether Walker was right in his contention that his bargaining changes more than offset the impact of his aid cuts. Barrett said most people would agree that public employees should pay more of their health care and pension costs, but Walker didn’t have to eliminate most of their collective bargaining power to do it.

Yeah. Walker should have just trusted unions to voluntarily pay more, because that’s what public-employee unions are famous for. Putting the taxpayer and fiscal solvency first.

Six Republican state senators are facing recall tomorrow, making it the single biggest recall event in American history. Democrats need to bump off three and then hold on in the final two recall elections next week, when their own incumbents will be up, in order to take back the senate and block Walker’s agenda. Here’s the election-eve poll by PPP for Daily Kos. Four races are close, one of them’s very close, and one of them looks like an easy Democratic pick-up. If you’re wavering about voting tomorrow, stop wavering.

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