Month One: Walker Budget Working ~ What the “Liberal Media” isn’t telling us.

For Immediate Release
Monday, August 01, 2011

Madison—One month after the 2011-13 state budget was signed into law, tangible results from the reforms put in place by Governor Walker and the Legislature are being realized.  According to media reports, local units of government and school districts have already saved more than $220 million, with millions more in potential savings not yet reported.

The state is also adding jobs. Between December 2007 and December 2010, Wisconsin lost over 153,600 private sector jobs.  The state has netted over 39,000 new private sector jobs since the Governor called a special session to open Wisconsin for business.  The state has seen 14,100 manufacturing jobs created since January.  In June Wisconsin had a net job creation of 9,500 new jobs, including nearly 13,000 private sector jobs.  Only four states created more private sector jobs than Wisconsin did in the last month.    

Below is a sampling of local units of governments being able to balance their budget and improve services due to the reforms contained in the 2011-13 state budget and the budget repair bill:

Ashland School District

A health insurance provider switch saved Ashland School District nearly $378,000.


Kimberly School District

The district saved $821,000 by dropping WEA Trust. 


Edgerton School District

The district will drop the union’s current health insurance carrier, the WEA Trust. The district is gathering bids to change to a different health insurance provider, which Pauli said could save at least $500,000 over the next year.


Baraboo School District

The Baraboo School Board expects to save about $660,000 next year after deciding to change insurance providers Monday evening.


Dodgeland School District

The Dodgeland School Board made the decision to change insurance companies.

Administrator Annette Thompson said the change will help the board deal with the expected $640,000 budget deficit from reduced state aid and expiration of some federal and AARA funds.  The change in providers is expected to save the district $260,000 next year.


Elmbrook School District

The district originally had planned for $780,000 in savings through the health-care changes, but Brightman said the actual savings are estimated at $878,000. He said some of that money likely will be needed to pay for staffing – probably a half-time equivalent clerical position – to administer the new plan.


Mequon-Thiensville School District

Delta Dental’s quotes also came in lower than those provided by WEA Trust. Beaudry said the district will save $49,000 in the 2011-12 budget cycle by switching to Delta Dental.


Marshfield School District

Marshfield will balance its budget despite the cuts.  “Given the cost savings with health insurance and the turnover with staff and new hires, we will be able to preserve our programs and come up with a balanced budget,” said Peg Geegan, the district’s director of instruction who will assume the superintendent’s position Aug. 1. The district will save $850,000 by switching health insurance carriers…


Fond du Lac School District

District leaders believe when school starts in the fall they’ll be operating with a balanced budget. They say the savings under the bill will offset their 4.4 million dollar budget shortfall. Class sizes and programs will also remain in tact.  

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City of Sheboygan and Sheboygan County

City of Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan and Sheboygan County Administrator Adam Payne said the collective bargaining reforms will provide enough savings to make up for the reductions in state aid.  “We were able to lock in savings and certainty due to the discussions going on in Madison,” Payne said.


Wauwatosa School District

The tax levy is projected to decrease, no programs will be cut, and class sizes won’t increase by any significant measure.  School board member Phil Kroner: “When students come to school in the fall, they’re going to see the same things, have the same teachers, and they’re going to see new things as well.



Laid-off city workers may get their jobs back after the city moves forward with the wage and benefit reforms contained in the budget.  And Overtime rules have changed saving the county $100,000.

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They will see up to a 9% decrease in the school portion of their property tax levy.  “It will be wonderful for our taxpayers, who have been extremely committed to our schools,” School Board President Julie Strenn said, noting three years ago, voters approved a three-year revenue cap override that cost taxpayers an additional $175,000 each year…  “This is the first year we have not needed to short-term borrow.”



Paul Hauffe, director of business services said, “administrators are poised to introduce a balanced budget in mid-July… We’re very close right now, there’s nothing monumental that we have to overcome.” 


Appleton Area School District

They will save $3.1 million just in health insurance costs alone due to competition among health insurance providers.  Financial advisors for the school district said:

·        Discussions at the state level over collective bargaining and budgeting issues have been beneficial to school districts from the rate perspective.

·        It forced a lot of competition. I do think the landscape in the school marketplace has changed significantly over the last year that’s put significant pressure on WEA Trust. Previously to this year, they didn’t have a lot of competition. Historically, it’s very difficult for other carriers to match them.

·        The $3.1 million in savings for next school year is just in health insurance premium costs.


Racine County

Inmates can do routine maintenance tasks so that county employees can spend more time working on projects that improve the community.  County Executive Jim Ladwig said inmates will be able to perform more tasks such as landscaping, painting, and shoveling sidewalks in the winter.  “We have a win-win when we use the inmates,” Ladwig said. “It gives them a sense of value they are helping the community.” At the same time, he said it will help the county maintain property that has been neglected.

References: and


Kaukauna School District

They will hire additional teachers, reduce projected class sizes from 26 to 23 students at the elementary level, 28 students to 26 students at the intermediate/middle level, and 31 students to 25 students at the high school level and set aside money for merit bonuses for good teachers.  “Due to the law change the District’s projected operating budget has moved from a negative $400,000 to approximately a positive $1,500,000.  Earmarked in the operating budget are $300,000 related to merit pay, a program being explored for all staff by the district for the 2011-2012 school year.”

References:|head and

Hartland-Lakeside School Board

They switched insurance providers and saved taxpayers $690,000.


[article reprinted from]

Governor Walker Signs Bill Creating a Development Opportunity Zone in Beloit

Scott Walker "Open for Business"

Scott Walker "Open for Business"

For Immediate Release
Monday, July 18, 2011

Beloit – Governor Scott Walker signed Act 37 into law today which relates to the creation of a development opportunity zone in Beloit. Development opportunity zones are used to attract and retain businesses in specific areas of the state by offering tax incentives to firms conducting economic activity within the boundaries of the zone.

“Creating a development opportunity zone in Beloit will create incentive for businesses to grow and relocate in a place that has been hit hard by the national recession,” Governor Scott Walker said. “We are going to use all means necessary to help the private sector create 250,000 jobs by 2015. I thank Senator Tim Cullen and Representative Amy Loudenbeck for their leadership, and I thank the members of Legislature for their overwhelming bipartisan support for this job creation bill.”

The Beloit development opportunity zone will remain effective for 60 months and would offer a total of $5 million in tax benefits. Additionally, the Department of Commerce (soon to be the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation), may extend the opportunity zone for an additional 60 months and $5 million if it determines the extension will continue to benefit the city.

[article reprinted from]

Governor Walker Signs Repeal of Early Release

Scott Walker signing bill

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MADISON—Today Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 57, legislation to repeal the early release program.

“Wisconsinites can now have confidence that violent felons will stay in jail longer,” said Governor Walker.  “Repealing early release will make our state a safer place to live, work, and raise a family in.  I would like to specifically thank Representative Suder and Senator Wanggaard for moving this legislation forward.”

[article reprinted from]