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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisconsin Recalls: GOP Holds The Senate In Crushing Blow To Unions And Progressives

In a stunning blow to unions and far left progressives, Republicans won four out of the six recall elections that were held in Wisconsin yesterday, taking the Republican majority from 19/14 to 17/16. There will be two more recall elections next week where two Democrats face challengers, but even if both hold their seats the majority stays with the Wisconsin GOP.

The background to the story from JSOnline:

Democrats called for the recalls after Walker launched his plan to eliminate most collective bargaining for public workers, and Tuesday's races were seen as a preview of a plan to force a recall of Walker next year.

Tuesday's recalls were launched in March, during the turmoil in Madison over Walker's plan, ultimately successful, to curtail collective bargaining by most public employees. Democrats tried to recall Republicans for that vote, while Republicans tried to recall Democrats for leaving the state for three weeks to block a vote on the issue.

Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) was the first to face a recall election, and he easily survived the challenge last month.

Wapo's Post Politics has Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's statement:

"Last November, the voters sent a message that they wanted fiscal responsibility and a focus on jobs," Walker said in a statement. "In our first months in office we balanced a $3.6 billion deficit and our state created 39,000 new jobs. It's clear the voters also want us to work together to grow jobs and improve our state.

"With that in mind, earlier this evening I reached out to the leadership of both the Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly and state Senate. I shared with them that I believe we can work together to grow jobs and improve our state. In the days ahead I look forward to working with legislators of all parties to grow jobs for Wisconsin and move our state forward."


Outside groups on both sides poured more than $25 million into this fight, in addition to the more than $5 million raised by the candidates themselves. According to the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Mike McCabe, Republicans had a slight edge in the money race, but it was “remarkably close.” Unions were the main source of funds for Democrats; limited-government groups such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity invested heavily on the GOP side.

Many expected the fall of three or more Republicans to either tie up the Senate or turn control over to Democrats but the Republicans held out and the Washington Examiner explains why:

How did Republicans hold out? It hasn't hurt that Walker's reforms have dramatically helped school districts within the state save millions of dollars by abolishing the main Wisconsin teachers' union's insurance racket. Nor does it hurt that Wisconsin, under the business-friendly leadership of Walker and a Republican state legislature, created more than half of the jobs created in the United States during the month of June.

Hard to argue with the actual results.

A JSOnline editorial grudgingly provides some of the actual figures on the results gained:

But the news is good for many. The latest example is Milwaukee, where the most recent estimates show the city with a net gain of at least $11 million for its 2012 budget. That will take a slice out of the city's structural deficit, which is created by costs rising faster than revenue, and will reduce cuts that Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council must impose.

The city projects it will save at least $25 million a year - the figure could be as high as $36 million in 2012 - from health care benefit and pension changes it didn't have to negotiate with unions because of the changes wrought by the new law that ended most collective bargaining for most public employees.

That certainly will help the city deal with the $14 million in cuts in state aid in the 2011-'13 state budget.

Hard decisions have to be made when your state spends more than it brings in and Walker made those decisions, Republicans enacted the laws necessary to make up for budget shortfalls, and they did it without forcing the taxpayers to suffer with higher taxes.

Perhaps Barack Obama should ask Walker for some advice because Wisconsin showed, by example, how to create jobs and work toward a path of a balanced budget wihout increasing taxes.

On a state level, Walker has done what Barack Obama and Congress has not been able to accomplish on the grand scale for our country.