Politifactoid parses Walker pay raise | Wis.Community

Politifactoid parses Walker pay raise

[img_assist|nid=58789|title=You want some of this?|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=155|height=173]So after bloggers (including yours truly) pointed out that a chart in the state's new compensation plan showed a 5.4% pay raise for the governor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Politifact department issued a "false." The governor isn't giving himself a pay raise, Politifact said. Actually, it's just that he's already received one.

Oh, well, that's different. Never mind. NOT.

The importance of Walker earning considerably more than the last guy to sit in his chair isn't that Wisconsin governors aren't legally able to receive raises in the same term they're approved. The state compensation plan and this blog pointed that out up front. Rather, the issue is that Walker took the raise when he assumed office -- and did so at the same time he was secretly plotting to cut the compensation of 40,000 state employees by at least the same percentage of his increase, and in some cases more. 

Do you ever recall before today's Politifact piece any mainstream news story pointing out that Walker's paycheck is about $7,000 greater than Jim Doyle's? Especially in the context that even before his election, Walker made noise about clawing back public employee compensation? Now, thanks to Politifact's blunderbuss, lots more people know that Walker is the highest paid Wisconsin governor ever -- and that he's said nothing whatsoever about declining that salary boost that was waiting for him on his new desk.

It's good to know, especially given the ruckus Walker started over what constitutes fair and equitable pay for the woriers he bosses around -- and a whole bunch of local public workers including school teachers whom in theory he doesn't boss around.

By the way, whenever corporate special interests complain about Wisconsin's allegedly high taxes -- a complaint which isn't really true -- I'm going to point out that Wisconsin's governor earns well above average pay compared to the nation's other 49 governors. Call it "For Whom the Belt-Tighening Tolls" (it tolls for thee). 

This entire dust-up reminds me of that old Doonesbury cartoon where the disgraced businessman is being led away in handcuffs as he shouts: "But the pension fund was just sitting there!" Similarly, Walker might say: "But the raise was just sitting there!" Another aside: In his budget, Walker also attempted a raid on the state's public employee pension fund, amounting to a hidden employee benefit cut. So much for transparent government, and transparent media coverage.

At least, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker actually took a pay cut when he assumed office. He strayed from that pledge over time, but, bad as he was otherwise, Walker at least made a modest, legitimate attempt to back up his policies and rhetoric through self-example.

Now, however, Walker's morphed into a guy who arrives at his new desk in the Capitol's East Wing and takes a fat salary increase -- an increase that, both percentage-wise and especially in actual dollars, has not been seen by lesser-paid, rank-and-file state workers for many years. Then Walker proceeds to give some of his political appointees fat raises, paying them well above what Doyle counterparts earned, even while plotting to freeze state employee wages for yet another two years. Because, hey, the era of big spending is over. Except when it isn't.

So is it "false" that Walker awarded himself a raise? Yup. But that's not the fact at issue. What's at issue is that Walker gave himself license to take the raise. And yeah, that's perfectly legal. But it's also morally reprehensible.

Well, it's not too late. Walker can still renounce his windfall. He can still set a shining example. He can still ... oh, never mind.

Another take from RockNetRoots:

Published

October 28, 2011 - 8:45pm

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