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  • Quality of Life Alliance

Walker’s Latest Promise Not Only Empty, But Hypocritical

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on July 9, 2010

Scott Walker came out with his latest campaign folly, er, campaign promise today. His promise is that he would save tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars by cutting funded, but unfilled positions, in the state government.

He also promised that none of the jobs cut would affect public safety and that he would not cut law enforcement, District Attorneys, Public Defenders, correction officers or front line DOJ workers.

The Dems came out swinging, but to be honest, kind of whiffed on the matter.

Team Barrett
came out with a better line:

“I am glad to see Scott Walker is following my lead in getting state government under control, but you don’t save any money by cutting positions that are already vacant. That’s a gimmick. I’ve proposed a real plan to Put Madison on a Diet that will save Wisconsin taxpayers more than $1 billion per year in spending cuts, and it includes a specific proposal to reduce middle management, phase out high-priced contractors, and ensure the state doesn’t have a workforce larger than it needs.”

The point that Walker’s promise wouldn’t really save any money was echoed by Bill Christofferson and many of the commenters at the JSOnline story on it.

Via Cindy Kilkenny, we learn that Mark Neumann also uses the “it doesn’t really save money” routine. However, Cindy makes an excellent point when she points out that any savings can be lost to overtime.

I would also add to Cindy’s point on overtime by pointing out that this could lead to other problems, depending on what the job function is. In her example of the police, officers could be overly tired and unintentionally hurt themselves or someone else. Or a bad actor could get away because the officer wasn’t on top of their game due to the long hours.

It should also be noted that before Walker could carry out his threat, it would have to be passed by the state legislature, which is at best, dubious, if not outright laughable, to think they would agree.

But the one point that all these people missed is that not only Walker’s promise empty, as it won’t save one thin dime, but it is also highly hypocritical.

Two years ago, the County Board learned that there were 717 fully funded, but unfilled, positions just within Milwaukee County. The problem was so severe that the Board passed a resolution that Walker’s administration had to report every year on the number of empty, but fully funded, positions. Walker eventually came out to say that he shuffled the money to other areas to make up for his budget holes. How can anyone believe he will do what he promises at a state level when he is doing the exact thing he is criticizing?

To prove Cindy’s overtime point, 2008 was also the year that the House of Correction and the Behavioral Health Division both had budget busting amounts of overtime. They also had an inordinately high level of injuries and time off due to burn out and FMLA use.

Compounding the hypocrisy of Walker’s promise, is his statement regarding public safety. He said that very same thing during the the budget proceedings for 2010 and in his State of the County address. Of course, this was two months after we learned that Walker found executiving was hard work, and he had given the deputy sheriffs and people working in the courts at least eight days of furloughs, or four times the amount Milwaukee police officers were given.

The only things that are emptier than Walker’s latest promise are his campaign bags and his credibility.

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