Meet Scott Walker’s Greatest Ally…Pat Quinn

The most recent Marquette poll came out and showed a small decline in Gov. Walker’s approval rating.  While it is a cause for concern, it is not a reason to panic.  Poll numbers can fluctuate but the truth does not.  Some interesting news came out of Illinois today that should help Wisconsinites truly understand why Governor Walker did what he did.  Today Governor Pat Quinn announced that despite raising their taxes to insanely high levels, so high in fact that many companies are threatening to leave the state, Illinois is still broke and needs to cut even more spending to balance its budget.  Here is where this story gets compelling, as now we can directly see two Governors from 2 different political philosophies, attack a very similar issue.

To be sure the budget of Illinois is a larger one to balance and Governor Quinn faces some obstacles that Governor Walker does not, but today’s announcement by Governor Quinn certainly strengthens Gov. Walker’s position.  What Gov. Walker did was find a way to balance the budget, without raising taxes or cutting services.  He did not mandate the layoffs of any public workers, instead he created tools to help local governments get control of rising costs in order to keep public employees on the job, which benefits all of Wisconsin. In order to achieve this he had to take on the powerful public sector unions who were hell-bent on keeping the status quo  in Wisconsin.  The unions kicked and screamed and demonized Governor Walker, but he stayed the course and now all of Wisconsin is benefiting from his vision and courage.  Our friends on the  other side of this debate can frown all they want about how we got there, but there is very little doubt that we are better off today then we were a year ago.

Now lets examine Gov. Quinn’s method to fix his budget.  First he started by raising taxes by a whopping 66% which scared the pants off of several businesses who threatened to leave unless the Gov. Quinn gave them a sweetheart deal.  When that didn’t work the Gov. Quinn then went the route of public sector layoffs.  Layoffs that were avoided in Wisconsin (unless your union passed a last second deal before ACT 10 became law).  Now comes today’s speech (video to follow) where he talked about slashing Medicaid and public employee pension benefits.  He also talked about the need to close down prisons which not only lays off 1,000’s of people, it puts society at risk.  He also talks about the closing of mental facilities, and other important services to the people of Illinois.  Remember he is telling the people Illinois this just a year after sticking them with a huge tax increase. All this from a Governor who year ago bragged that he will do it “different from Wisconsin”.  Well yes it is different and it is much worse for his state and for the public employees that work within it.

So there is our Tale of Two States in black and white.  Two governors taking their state in different directions.  One Governor took the road less traveled by taking on the special interest, while the other even with its budget a complete mess, refuses to.  Can there even be a debate on which Governor is doing it the right way as it pertains to its budget?


  1. #1 by Stephanie Purvis on February 22, 2012 - 8:47 pm

    Admittedly, I don’t know much about the Illinois budget (though I’m highly cynical at the ridiculous 66% claim unless they were paying next to nothing in the first place), but your argument on teacher losses is certainly false. They are happening all over the state, even in districts that were using the “tools,” meaning they were already contributing to their health and pension costs, long before Walker was elected. Also, in Milwaukee Public Schools, the contract was never pushed through as “a last second deal before ACT 10 became law.” That contract was negotiated and signed BEFORE Walker was even elected.

    Look at the map:

    Are trying to tell us that all of these districts rammed through last minute contracts?

    • #2 by Ken on February 23, 2012 - 9:26 am

      The numbers can be played with to emphasize whatever you want.

      Imagine a 2% payroll tax that increases to 5% – it can be described as a two point increase in the tax rate OR a 66% increase – both are 100% accurate, but one sounds very alarming and one sounds almost trivial.

      I remember the last time NJ raised their sales tax rate from 6% to 7% – the pro-increase crowd argued it was a “one cent increase” and asked “what could that hurt?” the opposition looked at a 16% increase in the taxes on every purchase, and reminded people it was a penny for every dollar spent…

      The increased tax rate passed, in part because of their ‘penny’ argument IMHO.

    • #3 by Mrs. Gonzalez on February 23, 2012 - 1:48 pm

      Again- a link to a graph that doesn’t describe how it got the information. Were these losses a direct result of what Walker did?? Or were teachers who retired or quit added in here? Also- is this JUST teachers or ALL staff at schools. I’ve seen graphs like this and the numbers shown before as PROOF that it’s not working and after a little digging, it’s been found that there was some exaggeration in the reporting.

      • #4 by Stephanie Purvis on February 23, 2012 - 2:28 pm

        Directly from DPI. I believe it shows net losses, not retirement losses. I honestly think the right is in denial about this. If he doesn’t restore some of the cuts from education I don’t think he has a chance to retain his seat. Have there been a few districts that have benefited? Possibly, but most have not.

      • #5 by Ken on February 23, 2012 - 5:55 pm

        The most useful information in this discussion isn’t net number of teacher increases/decreases per district, but avg class size in each district. It makes no sense to get involved in a discussion about teacher resignations, teacher retirements, increase/decrease in number of students in a given district, etc.

        The issue is the impact on the students, not the employment of teachers – if class sizes increased, that may be an issue, it depends on where class sizes were and are now.

        The schools exist to teach students, not provide lifetime jobs for the teachers.

      • #6 by Stephanie Purvis on February 23, 2012 - 6:33 pm

        There’s a chart for that too, though it doesn’t inlcude k-8. Also, we are doing our budget at my MPS school (yes a district that has a contract until 2014) and we projecting and average of 35 kids in a class, plus most of them are split grades, which really sucks at an immersion program.

    • #7 by Lori on February 26, 2012 - 6:26 am

      The map is misleading. It shows schools that lost teachers due to retirements, layoffs, and resignations, and does not show the number of new hires. Out of all the red school districts on the map only 109 had net losses after rehiring teachers. This is also from the DPI page and is directly from the data from their fall survey, which is available for download into excel.

      For those districts that had layoffs the average change in the student to teacher ratio was +0.28. That takes into account Milwaukee’s increase of 2.38 which indicates the other 108 had far less of an increase, or experienced a decrease. As for Milwaukee’s student to teacher ratio, it shows it now stands at 21.47 and not, um, 35.

  2. #8 by Ken on February 23, 2012 - 12:42 am

    Well, but Gov. Quinn will be rolling back those tax increases, since they are cutting services, right?

    What?! He’s gonna keep taxes high and still cut services?

    • #9 by Streaming Conservatism on February 24, 2012 - 11:39 am

      Thank you to all for a good honest discussion on the issues. It is refreshing to not have to referee a debate.

  3. #10 by Stephanie Purvis on February 27, 2012 - 11:32 am

    For some reason I can’t reply under the original post.

    Lori, I’m not following your numbers. If 2 teachers retire from a school and they are not replaced that is a cut of teachers. And if a district is laying off people why would they hire new people? I looked at the spreadsheet and there is a column for net loss or gain, which I would assume to mean final gain or loss of teachers no matter the method. In fact, there wouldn’t be gains in a few districts if that didn’t include new hires. Here is an interactive map listing “cuts” and gains”

    I’ve heard the 21.47 number for MPS you refer to but I can’t make sense of it from what I know to be true. That number must be spread out through all teachers in the district and divided by amount of kids. However, special ed classes for the severaly impaired might have 8 kids, while a regular classroom might have 34, which would give you a ratio of 21 kids per teacher. There are many scenarios that figure could represent, but the reality is my school has projected 35 kids for many of our classrooms in our elementary school. And we currently have 36-37 kids in our 3rd grade class. If you want confirmation I’d be happy to give you the contact info for my kids school.

    • #11 by Ken on February 27, 2012 - 12:28 pm

      You must either have some very large classrooms or a waiver from the local fire code.

      The per class average includes all teachers and all classes, from Special Ed with 1-8 kids per class to PE with as many as 40 or more all the way to high school study halls with as many as 100 in the cafeteria. It is fair to assume that there are an equal number of outsized classes to nullify the effects of undersized Special Ed classes, leaving the vast majority of students spending most of their days in average sized classes.

      The 30+ classes may be specific to one school – are all 3rd grade classes across your district the same size, or is this an issue at one school where an over-sized grade is overwhelming one school building?

      Districts fire teachers to avoid granting them tenure, then backfill with a new hire to control costs/staff size compared with projected enrollment.

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