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.
Governor Walker ended his state's historically high 3.6 billion dollar deficit by focusing on the key issues at stake and having the courage to tackle Wisconsin's public sector unions. As Walker pointed out yesterday, governors across the country and most notably Jerry Brown in California have "got to take on [public] pensions." Maintaining the status quo, increasing taxes, or slashing public services cannot work. As David Crane suggests in his recent Bloomberg piece:
"Governor Jerry Brown's proposed $50 billion tax-increase initiative won't solve California's budget problems. Neither will anything else on the state's ballot in November, nor will more cuts to child care, courts, parks, college and welfare programs repeatedly slashed by the state Legislature."
A sustainable budget in California, other struggling states, and bankrupt municipalities across America requires following Walker's lead--restricting collective bargaining and requiring government workers to contribute more to pensions. As Walker's experience has shown, "good policy can be good politics."