March 2, 2011- Local governments like Madison and Dane County can't afford to pay for everything. At least that's the premise behind the portion of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill that would strip almost all collective bargaining rights from most public worker unions.
By eliminating collective bargaining rights, Walker's intention was to allow for a mechanism for local governments to reap some sort of financial savings to survive the loss of nearly $1 billion in state aid in his proposed 2011-2013 budget. It breaks down to a roughly $59.5 million cut from cities, towns and villages, a $36.5 million reduction for counties and roughly $834 million taken from public schools.
More control over union wages and compensation packages, Walker reasons, would provide "greater flexibility" or "tools" for local units of government to weather his massive cuts in state aid, which are intended to address a budget deficit estimated at $3.6 billion.