Washington Examiner: Union Curbs Rescue a Wisconsin School District
This is a disaster,” said Mark Miller, the Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader, in February after Republican Gov. Scott Walker proposed a budget bill that would curtail the collective bargaining powers of some public employees. Miller predicted catastrophe if the bill were to become law — a charge repeated thousands of times by his fellow Democrats, union officials, and protesters in the streets.
Now the bill is law, and we have some very early evidence of how it is working. And for one beleaguered Wisconsin school district, it’s a godsend, not a disaster.
The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it’s all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.
Amazing how that works, huh? And while the left will maintain that the teachers are forced to pay more for their health insurance, Byron York’s excellent article points out that the limits on collective bargaining included in Walker’s new law opens up the teacher health insurance market to new competition, driving down costs.
Most importantly, though, what you see in particular from Mark Miller, the Democratic Party leader, is significant in the context of the 2012 elections. This is what Democrats do — they demagogue, especially when it comes to reforming education or entitlements. Miller’s hyperbole will be similar to what we will see from national Democratic Party leaders with regard to Medicare and Social Security as we get closer to the election. It’s sad, really, because when push comes to shove, the reality is that conservative principles work.
Read the rest of Byron York’s piece. Common sense truly has consequences.