Wisconsin’s Turnaround: How Labor Reform under Act 10 Gave Power Back to Taxpayers and Created a Multimillion-Dollar Surplus
by Paul Kersey
Illinois Policy Institute
February 14, 2014
Three years ago, Wisconsin enacted a landmark labor reform package—Public Act 10. Wisconsin started with a public-sector labor law that paralleled Illinois’ in most respects, but PA 10 enacted tight limits on the scope of bargaining and took other actions to reduce union influence outside of the bargaining room. The state Senate’s Democratic caucus, uniformly opposed to the reform, fled the state and eventually gathered in Illinois, hoping to bring the Legislature to a halt. While the ploy failed, government worker unions have found relative safety in Illinois to the detriment of the people of Illinois. Since enacting its sweeping reform, Wisconsin’s fiscal and economic position has become much stronger, and the quality of important government services has improved. It has balanced its budgets without tax increases, layoffs, or service cutbacks. Illinois would do well to emulate Wisconsin’s success.