Wisconsin -- unions vs. kids

Wisconsin -- unions vs. kids

From the NY Post by Michelle Malkin: Students were the first and last casualties of the ruthless Big Labor war against fiscal discipline. To kick off the yearlong protest festivities, the Wisconsin Education Association Council led a massive “sickout” of school personnel. The coordinated truancy action — tantamount to an illegal strike — cost taxpayers an estimated $6 million. When they weren’t ditching their students, teachers were shamelessly using other people’s children as their own political junior lobbyists and pawns. A Milwaukee Fox News affiliate caught one fourth-grade teacher dragging his students on a “field trip” to protest against Walker at the state Capitol building. The pupils clapped along with a group of “solidarity singers” as they warbled: “Scott Walker will never push us out, this house was made for you and me.” According the WisconsinReporter.com, cash strapped state affiliates also coughed up major sums to beat back Wisconsin’s efforts to bring American union workers into the 21st century and in line with the rest of the workforce: “The Ohio Education Association made a $58,000 in-kind contribution May 30, followed a day later by a $21,000 contribution from the Pennsylvania State Education Association. New York State United Teachers gave $23,000 on June 1, the Massachusetts Education Association gave $17,000 on May 31, and a group of unions based in Washington, DC, poured in $922,000 during the past week.”

Another Feather in Gov. Walker's Cap

Another Feather in Gov. Walker's Cap

Good economic news continues to flow from Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker's reforms are taking hold. The Wall Street Journal notes that by standing up to the union bosses, Walker was able to reduce the tax burden on home owners in Badger country: The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker's reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years. On Monday Mr. Walker's office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin's municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state's largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts. The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state's take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. In absolute terms homeowners won't see large dollar benefits year over year, but any hold-the-line tax respite is both rare and welcome in this age of ever-expanding government.