“’We’re not going to scramble or run out just to match Tom Barrett just because he put something out,’ Walker said (Associated Press, 6/17/10).
“He (Walker) made the announcement five days after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democrat in the race, said there was a “substance gap” in the race because he had offered detailed plans to trim the budget while the Republicans hadn’t.” (MJS, 6/17/10).
MADISON —Facing mounting criticism and a steady loss of credibility for failing to offer any specific ideas to solve Wisconsin’s challenges, Scott Walker yesterday hastily released a plan on state employee pensions that fails to match his own record – and raises more questions than it answers.
“It’s clear Walker is feeling the pressure of Tom Barrett’s straight talk and honest plans,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate. “With Walker’s absence of ideas fully exposed for all of Wisconsin to see, Walker now has hurriedly released a plan to shake the growing impression he is nothing more than an empty suit. Walker has always suffered from a substance gap, now his believability gap is in plain view.”
DPW Chair Mike Tate challenged Walker to square his record of failure and shattered promises with the campaign boasts he now spews on the campaign trail by answering ten basic questions:
1) You’ve essentially been running for governor since 2005. If it wasn’t Tom Barrett’s substantive, specific plans to create jobs and reduce spending that finally spurred you to propose anything beyond hackneyed platitudes, can you tell us why it took you so long to share with the people of Wisconsin any ideas about solving our state’s problems?
2) At Milwaukee County the vast majority of employees pay nothing for their pensions – unlike the City of Milwaukee where every single employee hired makes a contribution. Since you never sought this as County Executive, why should voters of Wisconsin believe you can get this done at the state level?
3) If you really believed this was a good idea, why didn’t you propose this during any of your 10 years as a member of the State Assembly?
4) Since state taxpayers funded your full state pension when you were a state legislator, can Wisconsin taxpayers expect a refund of the money we have invested to fund your pension?
5) When Tom Barrett unveiled his Plan to Put Madison on a Diet that will save Wisconsin taxpayers more than $1 billion in spending reductions every year while reforming the way state government works, you attacked him for not proposing a plan to balance the state’s entire structural deficit. (WTMJ-TV, 6/7/10). Your plan claims to save $180 million per year. The state’s structural deficit is at least $2.3 billion. Does your hypocrisy on this issue match the enormous disparity between your ‘plan’ and the state’s structural deficit?
6) You were elected County Executive to reform Milwaukee County’s pension system. Yet under your watch, there have been NEW pension scandals, no fix to the county’s structural pension deficits and hundreds of millions in new borrowing. Since your record of actually delivering reform is one of failure and cronyism, how can Wisconsin trust you to really get anything done?
(“Pension twist costs county millions,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/29/07)
(“2 aides in line for big pension payouts,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/18/04)
(“Report: County must deal with pension, health care costs to fix finances,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/26/10)
7) The national economic recession blew unexpected holes in the pension budgets of both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. Tom Barrett showed real leadership and balanced this shortfall by cutting $32 million in spending. Yet instead of making hard choices you chose to saddle future generations of Milwaukee County taxpayers by borrowing $400 million to meet County pension obligations. Why doesn’t this lack of judgment, leadership and courage call into your question your credibility on all pension-related issues?
“Milwaukee County issued $400 million in pension obligations bonds” Pensions & Investments, 3/27/09 http://www.pionline.com/article/20090327/DAILYREG/903279989
8) Since this gimmick will require agreement through collective bargaining, you can’t guarantee any of these savings, can you? Or are you proposing the elimination of collective bargaining and wouldn’t that prompt costly lawsuits?
9) Once upon a time you pledged to return significant portions of your pay. Then without warning or explanation you broke this promise and gave yourself a $50,000 per year pay raise – in the midst of a County deficit crisis and a national recession wreaking havoc on Wisconsin’s working and middle class families. How can the people of Wisconsin believe you won’t go back on your word yet again?
“Walker Would Lower Salary Givebacks,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/18/08 http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29505169.html
10) Since you still haven’t shared, how will you close the state’s $2.3 billion deficit, especially since you’re going to blow it up to $4.1 billion by giving $1.8 billion in massive tax giveaways to the wealthiest 1% and big business – with no relief to working and middle class families? How will your giveaways not result in massive layoffs of police, firefighters and teachers, and subsequent spikes in property taxes?