McIlheran hits it with “County must try to shed labor costs”

Journal/Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran has hit a home run with his recent column: County must try to shed labor costs. He cites a recent report by the Public Policy Forum that reveals that even if Milwaukee County taxpayers were subjected to the maximum property tax levy increases year after year the county would still find itself falling deeper into the hole as a result of the rising costs of the benefits required by union contracts (primarily pension and health care).

Of his many excellent points (many of which I’ve argued myself in the past) the one that boils it down is this:

Is the county’s purpose to be a good provider of well-compensated jobs, or is it mainly about providing public services at rates taxpayers can afford?

County Executive Scott Walker is trying to move us in a direction that can bring the county back into balance but the county board, as always, is obstructing with their lack of vision and blind devotion to the unions. Their preferred solution is to increase taxes and hope that things work out. What we need is leadership from the county board to throw off the shackles of rising personnel costs.

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