Like North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin was a state where, following a lengthy period of Democrat rule, Republicans took control of all levers of state government in the 2010 midterm elections. Confronting a more than $3 billion budget deficit upon taking office in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators responded with Act 10, also referred to as the Budget Repair Act, which helped put Wisconsin’s finances in order by doing the following:
• Limits collective bargaining to wage negotiations, and requires annual union recertification.
• Requires government worker pay increases in excess of the rate of inflation be subject to voter approval.
• Ends automatic deduction of union dues, requiring union bosses to make the case to workers why they should join and financially support a union.
• Requires government workers to start contributing something toward their health insurance and retirement savings.
According to a recent report by the MacIver Institute, a free market think tank based in Madison, Act 10 has saved Wisconsin taxpayers over $5 billion.
The MacIver Institute illustrates what these savings mean for taxpayers:
“$5.24 billion in savings works out to $910 in savings for every man, woman and child in Wisconsin, or $2,291 for every household in Wisconsin. The DOT could build 2,912 more roundabouts. The savings could fund over 68,000 four-year degrees at UW-Madison, or install 42 separate Milwaukee-style streetcar systems throughout the entire state. Thankfully, however, Walker and the legislature have used the Act 10 savings to provide more than $2 billion in direct tax relief for Wisconsinites.”
What really stands out in the MacIver Institute report is how Act 10 brought savings to government entities of all sizes, from small towns to large state departments, with nearly 500 units of government each achieving over $1 million in savings. To commemorate the tremendous savings that Act 10 has generated for Wisconsin taxpayers, the MacIver Institute is celebrating this month as Wisconsin Taxpayer Appreciation Month.