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Why Does Scott Walker Want To Stop The Union Contracts?

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on December 1, 2010

Scott Walker, Goobernator-to-be, really, really, really wants to prevent the current lame duck state legislature and governor from approving any contracts with the state’s unions.

He sent a notice to the unionseven before the election was held, that they should stop all negotiations (which is a bit of a no-no, by the way).
He also sent a letter to Governor Doyle, asking him not approve any new contracts.
When the unions and Doyle turned a deaf ear to his pleas, he sentanother letter to the state legislature asking them to stop the process of approving any contracts.
So why is he so desperate to stop these contracts? The contracts will cover the current budget, the bulk of which he wasn’t even governor yet (but was running for governor that whole time, as well as the three budgets before that).
If you listen to Walker, the Fitzgerald boys, or Walker’s allies in squawk radio, it’s because they are afraid Doyle and the outgoing Democrats will give away the state in lucrative pay raises and benefits.

But that is just empty rhetoric, since we already know that the contracts do not include any pay raises or any increase in benefits.
So why all the hubbub, bub?
If the unions and the state reach an agreement before he takes office it weakens his plan to ruin the state on two fronts.
Walker most likely was planning on “balancing” the state budget and “resolving” the deficit crisis by making up phony savings like he did with Milwaukee County’s budget, when he just added all sorts of concessions without even pretending to negotiate for them. Walker’s shenanigans has caused the 2010 budget to be in a predicted to be nearly $8 million. The projected deficit for 2011’s budget is even worse.
This would put Walker in the awkward position of actually having to make the hard decision regarding the budget. Unlike his tenure as county executive, he won’t have a lenient county board to take his messes and clean them up as best they can. With Republicans controlling both the Assembly and the Senate, they would have no one to pin the blame on when the people start calling for heads when their services get cut and the economy starts its downward decent again.
The other issue for Walker is that it could make things much harder for his ultimate goal, which is to bust up the unions. Walker and his Republican allies have made no bones about the fact that they would like to alter, if not completely eliminate, the collective bargaining laws and to make the state into what is ironically known as a right to work state.
If the current administration and legislature complete the contract negotiations and these contracts are enacted, it weakens the Republican’s legal arguments in a court of law for the lawsuit(s) that you know will be coming in fast and furiously if they were to pass their agenda.
After all, if anyone really thinks that Walker’s agenda has anything to do with creating jobs, they might as well just stop kidding themselves, the sooner the better. Their real agenda is just to open up the state for exploitation and hoping that they get to partake in the rewards for doing so.
Thankfully, even though they got their you-know-whats handed to them in the last election, Governor Doyle and the Democrats are starting to show some of their old fire and are not willing to allow the state to go the toilet without a fight. But it’s scary to think how downhill they can push are economy when they get free rein.
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