Now that Scott Walker has signed his newly-passed budget repair bill into law, unions say they will take the fight to the voters with recall petitions targeting eight state Senators. Republicans have targeted eight of the 14 fleebagging Democrats in response. Fox News’ Bill Hemmer talks with Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who argues that time is on the GOP’s side in this issue:
For an idea what the math looks like, Jim Geraghty has a helpful primer. In short, it’s not as easy as it looks, and in most districts for both parties, it’s bound to come up empty. Even assuming that Democrats can get one or two recalls to a vote, it won’t change the composition of the state Senate, and the Assembly’s Republican majority and Governor will block any efforts made by a Democratic majority in the Senate anyway.
And that assumes that voters will get enthusiastic about recalls at all. Most of them are probably glad to see an end to the circus at this point and have little stomach for another. Also, the timing of the election is rather telling, too. Any recall would come at the end of summer, well after Walker and the legislature pass the next budget. Assuming Walker balances the budget without too many layoffs, no new taxes, and reasonable trims to spending, Wisconsin voters might be pretty pleased with that outcome — certainly enough to let Walker and his legislative majorities manage another budget cycle undisturbed. The farther this gets away from the mob scenes at the state capital, the better it is for the GOP.
In fact, they may even get an inadvertent boost from the Democratic Secretary of State, who has decided to give unions an extra few days to twist arms at the local-government level:
School boards and local governments across Wisconsin are rushing to reach agreements with unions before a new law takes effect that will remove their ability to collectively bargain over nearly all issues other than minimal salary increases.
Secretary of State Doug La Follette said Monday he decided to delay publication of the law until the latest day possible, March 25, to give those local governments as much time as possible to reach agreements. The law doesn’t take effect until the day after La Follette publishes it.
Gov. Scott Walker had asked La Follette to publish the law on Monday, but the Democratic secretary of state, who called the new law the biggest change in labor management history in 50 years, said he didn’t see any emergency that warranted him doing that.
Readers may wonder why school boards and local governments are “rushing to reach agreements” with unions to meet a deadline that would end the worst bargaining position they have with the unions. The answer to that is the reason why Walker and the state legislature worked so hard to pass the bill. The politicians in these areas don’t represent the taxpayers in labor-management negotiations; they represent the unions that got them elected. An unseemly rush to capitulate to unions before these governments have the tools to control costs should alert voters in these jurisdictions that they need to clean house at these levels in the next election.