Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Charles Parker: Wisconsin Vote Means Something in Florida

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has become the first American governor to survive a recall election.  And the spin machines on both sides of the political spectrum are in overdrive.
He was elected in 2010 – running on a platform of bringing fiscal discipline to his state’s capital.  Included in this belt-tightening was to be a challenge to the public service unions by demanding that state employees (except public safety workers) contribute to their health care and pension funds. He defeated Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by over 5% points.
Upon taking office, he and the Republican-controlled legislature did exactly as they said they would.  The unions went apoplectic.  Major protests rocked the capitol building.  Recall petitions were distributed, signed, and submitted.  A new election was called.  It didn’t matter.
Walker won the second time – against the same opponent – by a larger margin.  Bill Clinton came to town to help.  President Obama did not.  Both sides spent lots of money.
In the end, reasonable voters realized that public employees should contribute something – like most private sector workers do.  Especially when the state’s coffers are in a deficit and revenue needs to be raised or services cut back.
So what does it mean – if anything – for November and the presidential campaign?
The big story that comes out of Wisconsin is that it is now a toss-up state – even though it has not been won by a Republican since 1984.  The bigger story is the GOP ground game.  They beat the unions at the register-new-voters and get-out-the-vote contests.  If this trend can be duplicated in other places – Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, and Pennsylvania particularly – November 6 could be a long night for the president.
And – what does this mean for a similar drive in Florida?
Gov. Rick Scott should take notice.  He should take another stab at public service employee pension plans.  But this time he should exempt all public safety workers and grandfather in current employees, such as teachers and civil servants. Any new hires would be subject to new pension deductions.
Florida is not in the fiscal mess that Rust Belt states are and unions in this right-to-work state have little leverage.  So Gov.Scott in Florida does not have to be as urgent or as punitive as Gov.Walker was in Wisconsin. 
Florida voters will see this proposal as reasonable – because it is.  And it will pass constitutional muster because it doesn’t change the rules in the middle of the game.
And Florida then goes from toss-up to Mitt Romney.

You can follow Charles Parker on Twitter @cpbrevard and on BlogTalkRadio from 8:00 - 8:30 pm Sunday evenings -

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you believe the fox Kool-Aid? Walker did NOT run on the Union bashing, Politifact even has a noted statement as false on this topic. They found the first mention of his trimming the Union collective bargaining rights was December 7th 2010, 4 weeks AFTER the election was over.

    I suppose it is OK to blast a 2 billion dollar hole in the state budget by giving tax breaks to corporations and then expect the workers and taxpayers of the state to make up the shortfall?

    Kinda like the same here in Florida.......but I guess nobody noticed the Republican TAXATION of raising "fees" on everything? You know, the same Republicans who run on anti-tax campaigns, that the dolts of this state believe, and then go nuts when their vehicle tags double in price?

    I certainly hope when you retire from the public school system, you decide to tell the state to simply keep your pension(s)/DROP/ Whatever taxpayer funded retirement you will get.