Tom Barrett Undermines Efforts to Undo Walker Reforms

By John McCormack, The Weekly Standard

During a Democratic gubernatorial primary debate on Wednesday night, the two leading Democrats vying for a chance to take on Governor Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election strongly disagreed over their abilities to undo Walker’s budget reforms if Walker is defeated.

Dane county executive Kathleen Falk, who is supported by Wisconsin’s major unions, has promised to veto any budget that doesn’t repeal Walker’s collective bargaining reforms–effectively pledging a government shutdown if the legislature doesn’t restore the power public sector unions lost under Walker. “The only bill that has to pass the legislature is the budget bill,” Falk said Wednesday night. “And that’s why the only way to restore it is to put it in the budget bill.”

But Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who is widely seen as the frontrunner and establishment candidate, said Falk’s strategy wouldn’t work and could lead to a “permanent Scott Walker budget.”

According to Barrett, failure to pass a budget wouldn’t lead to a government shutdown–it would lead to Walker’s budget carrying on indefinitely. “There’s been talk of holding up the budget. To me, this is a dangerous idea,” Barrett said. “Wisconsin is different from the federal government and Minnesota and other states. If there is no budget, we will have a permanent Scott Walker budget—a permanent Scott Walker budget. The budget does not have to pass.”

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