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Beyond Wisconsin

Jun 18, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 38 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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That estimate seems to be low. Since Walker’s reforms made union dues for public employees voluntary, Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) “fell to 28,745 in February [2012] from 62,818 in March 2011,” according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s a 54 percent drop in membership in just over a year, and other public sector unions in Wisconsin have seen precipitous declines as well. In an election cycle where Democrats are whining about the pernicious influence of money in politics, the GOP can point to -Walker’s reforms and note that Democrats have spent decades spending campaign donations extracted against the will of public employees and the taxpayers who pay their salaries. AFSCME was the single-largest donor in the 2010 election cycle, spending $87.5 million. If Wisconsin’s union reform contagion spreads across the country, one of the Democratic party’s biggest sources of campaign cash will dry up, and our state and local governments would be in much better fiscal health. 

—Mark Hemingway

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