K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Wisconsin Cities Must Wrestle with Reality

Willie L. Hines, Jr.

As you have surely read, there’s a lot going on in Madison, Wis., these days. The tens of thousands of protesters currently storming the Capitol came about when our new governor, Scott Walker, called a special legislative session in order to introduce a “budget repair bill.” The stated purpose for this emergency session and this bill was that we have a short-term deficit that needs to be addressed.
Gov. Walker and Republican legislators have taken the liberty of extending their scope well beyond that original purpose. Instead of focusing on the short-term deficit as promised, they are using this emergency session as an opportunity to introduce dramatic, systematic changes to how local governments operate all over Wisconsin. The most controversial, which saves no money in the near future and perhaps no money ever unless policymakers make future decisions to cut benefits, is to eliminate collective bargaining for non-public safety employees.