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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Overcast with Haze
The Daily
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Dems moving ahead with worker contracts
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Legislative Democrats are not heeding Scott Walker's request to put off state employee contracts until the next session starts in January. The contracts, which will not include any pay raises, will nevertheless lack the type of cuts that Walker promised on the campaign trail for state workers.

The Recess Supervisor, a former GOP Capitol staffer, weighed in on this issue a couple weeks back:

If this process were functioning properly, these contracts would've been put in place prior to the period they cover - which means they're about 17 months late as is. For Scott Walker to request the right to negotiate them himself is to ask for a type of retroactive governance that is wholly and completely inappropriate. By Walker's empty logic, he should also refrain from negotiating these contracts in the event there's a Democratic governor four years from now who'd like to do things differently.

It's tough to say what difference Walker's version of employee contracts would make for the state budget. Like virtually every other fiscal proposal he made during the campaign, his pension reform plan doesn't mention any details. Although he made the case that state workers should contribute to their retirement packages, he made no suggestions for how much.

Nevertheless, any reform of state employee contracts would not get the state anywhere near closing the budget gap. Cuts to education, shared revenue and health care are practically inevitable.

It's interesting how this issue compares to high-speed rail. Once again, Dems are trying to make a deal that Walker can't break, although this one should be more successful because you can't send state workers to the federal government or another state (as much as many Republicans would probably like to). And similar to the train, it forces Walker to make potentially politically damaging decisions, such as cutting even deeper into popular programs.

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