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?