Expect Massive Republican Condemnation of a Democrat Proposing Republican Ideas But Not Trying to Damage or Destroy Public Employee Unions
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker needs to take lessons in politics and governing. Mr. Walker is now facing a certain recall election after opponents turned in petitions requesting the recall. Those petitions had over one million signatures, far more than enough to meet the threshold for causing the recall election.
For those not paying attention, the anger at Mr. Walker is not for the fact that he balanced the
Wisconsin budget by sharply reducing compensation for state employees. No one expected that this would not happen, given the state of the state’s finances. Public employee workers were not happy about this, but were more than willing to accept it.
Two things cause the revolt against Gov. Walker. One is that in addition to the attacks on the compensation of public employees, he also attacked their unions, and enacted legislation that effectively destroyed the unions. The second thing is the pure joy and excitement the Governor and his supporters got from doing this.
Mr. Walker could learn from
Governor Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Cuomo has just proposed a state budget that looks a lot like a Republican budget. New York State
Mr. Cuomo is seeking to achieve several contentious policy objectivesthrough his budget proposal, including the approval of more rigorous teacher evaluation systems across the state. Mr. Cuomo proposes to withhold a promised increase in state aid to any school districts that did not adopt an evaluation system.
His budget would also limit retirement benefits for newly hired state, county, municipal and school district workers, offering them a choice between a pension that is less generous than that for current public employees, or a defined contribution plan invested by individual workers.
The proposal for a new pension tier, which the governor said would save state and local governments nearly $79 billion over three decades, sets up an immediate confrontation with public-employee unions, which have vowed to fight any proposed pension changes.
So how is Mr. Cuomo different from
Mr. Walker? Well first of all Mr. Cuomo is a reluctant spending cutter. He does not display the joy that Republicans get from reducing vital state services. Instead he is doing so with regret, forced to do so by fiscal consideration. And Mr. Cuomo has already raised taxes on wealthy people, so it is not as though only the working middle class state employees are bearing the burden.
Equally important is the fact that Mr. Cuomo has not attacked public employee unions and called for their demise. The excuse Mr. Walker gave for his campaign against the unions was that he could not enact his program as long as they existed, a false claim whose falseness was exposed by the acceptance of the union of the cuts. Mr. Cuomo knows that a strong leader in state government can enact his agenda without destroying the opposition.
So the end result, Mr. Walker is facing a recall election, Mr. Cuomo is facing extremely high ratings and the possibility of being the logical choice for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016.
Are you getting this Gov. Walker?