It’s been over two years since the Governor and Legislature enacted one of the most significant laws in our state’s history, Act 10. When have five simple characters caused so many people to show so much emotion? It changed the political landscape of Wisconsin and continues to do so today.
Just this week we saw a report that the Milwaukee Public Schools are saving money thanks to Act 10 and by 2020 they will save $110 million per year. These are significant savings that will go into the classroom to help educate our children. Act 10 helped us unravel the burdensome, bureaucratic costs that were wasting our tax dollars and taking money away from our kids.
Every week there is another success story like this from units of government big and small. Billions have been saved by this single law. Deficits have been turned into surpluses across the state.
And most significant of all are the effects on our state budget. While our neighbors in Minnesota and Illinois are still facing massive deficits and are raising taxes, Wisconsin just passed a tax cut. Act 10 helped stop the bleeding in 2011 and put us on the path towards significant tax reform in 2013.
While the tax cut shows up as a deficit on the books but just over 1% economic growth will give us a balanced budget in 2015, anything more than that and we will have a surplus. Nearly every economic indicator shows that we are definitely on the path to prosperity. Most importantly, income tax collections are up which means that more people are working and making money. None of this would have been possible without the 2011 budget reforms.
Luckily, there is still more that Act 10 can provide Wisconsin. Most importantly, schools are adopting merit pay programs so we can reward the best and brightest teachers. These reforms may not show up on the balance sheet, but children in the classroom will see the benefit.
As we continue to look at the benefits of Act 10, thanks are still due to Governor Walker and the Legislators who voted for reform. Who knows where we would be now without the collective bargaining reforms of 2011.
Stay tuned as we work with our partners at the MacIver Institute and continue to bring you updates on how Act 10 is still working for Wisconsin.
David Fladeboe is the Deputy State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Wisconsin.