Gov. Walker says budget reforms saved $1 billion - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Walker says budget reforms saved $1 billion

GREEN BAY (WAOW) -

Citing local budgets, surveys of local governments and media reports, Governor Walker announces Sunday his budget reforms have saved taxpayers more than $1 billion.

The administration claims school districts, which competitively bid out its health insurance, have saved an average $220 per student and municipalities have trimmed costs through efficiency and shared services.

In Green Bay, for example, like other municipalities, new contracts were approved before Act 10 took effect which included contributions to health insurance and pensions. That, along with other parts of the legislation, Mayor Jim Schmitt says has already saved the city more than $1 million.

"It's helped. Like I said, I think these things needed to happen, and because of Act 10 they probably happened a bit quicker, but eventually you had to address these issues and it kind of came together all at once," Schmitt said. "It seems to be working. That being said, we have more to do."

But ask Green Bay Education Association President Toni Lardinois, the story is different.

"And yet we still see a nine million dollar deficit for this year," Lardinois said referring to the Green Bay School District. "So obviously what he's proposing through Act 10 didn't work. It's funding. You have to fund schools. You can't take away funding and you can't pack classrooms full of kids and say now we don't need as many teachers."

The numbers and stories will vary from city to district. So too will the debate on whether this legislation works.

To view Governor Walker's research, click here.

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