Local lawmakers are praising Gov. Scott Walker’s announcement that the state’s controversial budget repair law that significantly limited public unions in collective bargaining has reached $1 billion in savings.
Walker appeared in Manitowoc Monday morning to make the announcement, calling it "a great day for the hardworking people of this state who pay for the expenses of government."
State Sen. Alberta Darling — who represents portions of Milwaukee and much of the North Shore including Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point and Bayside — said the governor's reforms mean more money goes directly into the classroom.
"Before the hands of school districts were tied with locked-in costs that kept going up and up," Darling said in a statement Monday. "Now there is flexibility to save money and put school children first. Not only do these reforms save money, they also let local officials use their common sense."
The $1 billion in tax savings was made in less than a year from when the law went into effect, according to a news release from the governor's office.
Melissa Baldauff, research director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, responded to Walker’s announcement by saying the numbers do not add up.
“Like pretty much everything else Scott Walker says, this claim is a distortion of reality that is a blatant attempt to distract from Walker’s real record of failure and dishonesty,” Baldauff said in a memo to reporters.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is one of four Democrats running in the gubernatorial recall primary against Walker, said the news is a distraction from the fact that under his Walker, the state has lost 4,300 private sector jobs — more jobs than any state in the country last year.
"What Walker isn't telling the people is that he made the deepest cuts to education in Wisconsin history, our state lost nearly 1,500 teacher positions over the past year, and we still have a $140 million budget deficit even though Walker raised fees on the people of Wisconsin by $110 million," he said. "This isn't a record to brag about — it’s a record that causes failed governors to be tossed from office."