Gazette Editorial Board
Protesters descending on the Capitol five years ago in a desperate bid to stop Act 10’s passage were right about one thing: They had a lot to lose.
But as a growing body of evidence suggests, their loss has been the taxpayers’ gain—possibly to the tune of billions of dollars.
Gov. Scott Walker faced an onslaught of criticism as he refused to succumb to protesters’ intimidation tactics, and it was an uncomfortable, even dangerous, moment in Wisconsin history. Time has allowed sober minds to prevail, thankfully, and Wisconsin taxpayers are being rewarded for Republicans’ persistence. Moreover, doomsday scenarios about Act 10’s effects have proven to be hyperbolic nonsense.
Teachers still teach; treatment plants still clean our water; streets still get plowed.
Act 10 requires workers to start contributing to their pensions and health care. It ends automatic deductions for union dues and, most important, limits unions’ collective bargaining powers. In other words, Act 10 helps keep costs under control.
At the municipal level alone, a recent study estimates cities and towns saved up to $100 million. A bulk of those savings, between $60 and $70 million, came from employees contributing more money to their retirements, according to a study authored by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and League of Wisconsin Municipalities.