Tag archive for Wisconsin

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds Walker’s Act 10

The long legal battle over Scott Walker’s controversial Act 10, the budget repair bill in Wisconsin, appears to be over. In a major legal victory for Walker in an election year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has just ruled that the bill was constitutional in a 5-2 decision. The far ranging 2011 bill was known chiefly because it limited collective bargaining rights for many public employees…

The Battle for Wisconsin, in Retrospect

In Madison, Wisconsin, a protest at the State Capitol usually just means it is a day ending in “y.” ┬áThe city of 200,000 residents is home to the state’s government and the heavily activist University of Wisconsin, so demonstrations of some sort occur on an …

Trends and tea leaves in the BLS’ annual unionization report

In light of the new labor laws in place in Indiana (2012), Michigan (2012) and Wisconsin (2011), at least for the time being, the BLS’ annual unionization report takes on new importance. Now there will be data to inform policy debates that have been hitherto …

Government unions may be big losers in Michigan

The press is playing the Michigan labor battle as significant because the state is home to the United Auto Workers and is considered a cradle of unionization. But private sector union rates have sunk to about 12 percent of the workforce in Michigan. Meanwhile, however, …

Judicial overreach in Wisconsin

Over at Pointoflaw.com, Adam Freedman describes Judge Juan Colas’ opinion striking down the Wisconsin collective bargaining reforms of Scott Walker as “a thinly veiled piece of judicial activism.” The heart of the decision, writes Freedman:

… appears to be this single sentence on page 15: “Although the statutes do not prohibit speech or associational activities, the statutes do impose burdens on employees’ exercise of those rights when they do so for the purpose of recognition of their association as an exclusive bargaining agent.”

California ballot will be public sector labor’s next big test

Two ballot measures will make the fall ballot campaign in the Golden State especially intense. One is a set of tax increases (Proposition 30) being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown and the state’s main public sector unions. If it passes, it will help stave off deep cuts and reduce the pressure to undertake more significant reform. Working in the opposite direction is a measure (Proposition 32) that would prohibit direct donations to candidates from unions and corporations and, more significantly for the public employee unions, prohibit the use of union dues for political activism without members’ explicit consent. Obviously, the unions are dead set against this initiative.

GASB standards assume away reality

The average public pension plan is only 41 percent funded, when calculated with the same financial methods used in the private sector, according to a recent report written by PublicSectorInc.org contributor Andrew Biggs. Using a fair market valuation approach that captures the value of pension benefits guaranteed to be paid as opposed to using unrealistic Government Accounting Standards Board assumptions based on the highly unlikely expected returns on stocks, private equity, or hedge funds, Biggs finds that public pensions “face unfunded liabilities of approximately $4.6 trillion dollars.”

Wisconsin’s lessons for California

Now that three California cities (Vallejo, Stockton and Mammoth Lakes) have filed for bankruptcy since the financial meltdown of 2008 and another, San Bernardino, is on the path to Chapter 9, the LA Times asked me whether some Wisconsin-style reforms might help alleviate the pressures …

Can good policy be good politics?

My colleague, Andrew Marcum, has a great recap of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s visit to the Manhattan Institute yesterday afternoon, where the Governor discussed his experience reforming Wisconsin’s public sector (video here.). We hope to hear more from Andrew in the coming weeks. Here is Andrew’s first post on PSI recapping the event:



Governor Walker’s advice seemed especially relevant given recent financial calamities in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Mammoth Lakes, California; and Stockton, California, as well as Moody’s estimates released yesterday placing national public pension debt at a whopping  2.2 trillion dollars.

Florida may become Wisconsin with palm trees

Florida may become a new union-reform battleground after a lawsuit by the Florida teachers union fighting the 3 percent pension contribution required by a new law. There’s a growing judicial retention issue there, also, which could turn the legal fight into a political battle. Stay …