op-ed

Fighting for a better Wisconsin

Tim Phillips President, Americans for Prosperity

In Hudson, Wisconsin this morning, local tea party leader Annette Olsen said it best, “The Madison unions thought they could just intimidate us. They thought wrong. Now, they have to fight on the issues and it’s not working out for them.”

Annette was right. Over the past year in Wisconsin the government unions were bombastic and bullying as they pursued a vendetta against Governor Scott Walker. They used their raw anger about losing their privileged status coupled with name calling and class-warfare rhetoric to whip up resentment against Governor Walker and the courageous leaders who helped pass the historic budget reforms.

As I’ve traveled across Wisconsin, I’ve found that the vendetta from the government unions is no longer wearing well. Instead, Wisconsinites are considering whether or not the budget reforms passed by Governor Walker are making their lives better. And, we’re finding that the answer is a steady “yes” from Milwaukee to Wausau to La Crosse and all over the state.

It’s easy to see why: Walker’s reforms have wiped out a $3.6 billion budget deficit while actually creating a $154 million surplus. By making government workers contribute a small amount to their benefits — just like in the private sector — millions of taxpayer dollars have been saved in every city across the state.

Moreover, for the first time in 12 years, local property taxes have gone down for families and businesses. In fact, every Wisconsin citizen can now go to ISaveWithAct10.com and see just how much money they’ve saved. I proudly thank the Dane County Tea Party for the hard work they’ve done to create this, right in the belly of the beast in Madison.

Most important — and inconvenient for the left — has been the recent news that Governor Walker’s reforms have helped create an atmosphere where over 23,000 private sector jobs have been created. All these successes are due to the leadership in Wisconsin because without these reforms, Wisconsin would be drowning in debt, unemployment, high taxes and low educational standards.

Yesterday, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked me if Governor Walker is going to be a national Republican leader after the recall on Tuesday. I told him, “No, he’s not going to be a national leader after the recall. Governor Walker is already a national leader.”

But Governor Walker is a national leader not because he’s a stirring orator, though he’s a perfectly competent speaker. Governor Walker does not cut a dashing movie star-like profile, though I’m sure he’s a good-looking guy.

No, Governor Walker is that rarest of national figures. He has earned the status by virtue of actually passing into law ground-breaking public policy that is making a crucial difference for families and businesses in his home state.

Tim Phillips is the president of Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s premier advocate for economic freedom with over 115,000 members in Wisconsin and over 2 million members nationwide.