The savings mount up
October 6, 2011
Last week we noted that while credible polling shows that voters aren’t connecting the dots between Governor Walker’s reforms and savings at the local level, the groundwork laid in the Governor’s state budget is getting results.
For several weeks, local reports confirming this have been trickling in. Local school districts are saving taxpayer money, now that collective bargaining doesn’t force them to buy insurance through a trust owned by the statewide teacher union, under what was a perfectly legal but fundamentally corrupt and offensive arrangement.
Last week the Oshkosh school board voted to dump the Wisconsin Education Association Insurance Trust and buy identical coverage from another provider for a lot less money. Thanks to Governor Walker’s collective bargaining changes, Oshkosh taxpayers will save almost $4 million over the next three years.
The results aren’t identical in all communities. Some rushed to settle public employee contracts before the Walker reforms took effect and their taxpayers are likely to miss out on savings at least for a year or two. In a just world, there would be a political price to pay for this.
Districts where the status quo reigns tend to be in places like Milwaukee, where protecting union brothers and sisters from layoffs is less important than saying no to any reform, and where there’s a long history of money going out the door for questionable purposes.
In a way, it’s lucky there are a few holdout districts. They are sure to succeed—for a little while at least—in making things worse, and the rest of the state will learn and benefit from the inevitable comparison.