Highlights savings in Brown County, City of Green Bay, and Village of Hobart
Green Bay – Governor Scott Walker visited Green Bay City Hall today to highlight the positive reforms and savings related to 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.
“When we first took office, we faced a $3.6 billion budget deficit and outstanding bills from the previous administration,” Governor Walker said. “The tools and reforms included in Act 10 allowed us to balance the budget without raising taxes and start to move Wisconsin forward, and today, we continue to see incredible growth throughout the state. As we look towards the future of Wisconsin, we remain committed to improving the lives of our taxpayers by growing our economy, developing our workforce, transforming education, investing in our infrastructure, and reforming government.”
Over the past five years, the total savings from Act 10 are estimated to be over $5 billion and pension savings alone exceed $3 billion for state and local governments. Additionally, local governments utilized the tools in Act 10 to save on long-term liabilities.
These savings not only allowed the state to eliminate a $3.6 billion deficit, they also made it possible to cut property and income taxes by a total of nearly $5 billion. Today, property taxes on a typical home are lower than they were in 2010 and cumulatively $1,227 lower than where they would have been in the prior trend continued. Over four years, income tax rate cuts have saved a median income family of four $916 – that’s real money and real savings for the people of Wisconsin.
Brown County has realized significant change for the better since Act 10 passed. Pension savings alone over the last five years for all local governments in Brown County exceed $100 million. The economy is improving. Unemployment dropped from 7% in December of 2010 to 3.7% in December of 2015 and employment has risen by nearly 10,000 in the county over the last five years. Pay has also risen and property taxes for the typical homeowner in Brown County have dropped by more than $125 since 2010.
These new savings and flexibilities included in Act 10 have allowed Brown County, Green Bay, and the Village of Hobart to do the following:
- Award Employees: County employees can be awarded based on performance;
- Reduce spending: County spending is down by roughly $25 million and tax rates are down; and
- Make needed investments: Act 10 savings have allowed the county to make needed investments in public safety, health, infrastructure, and economic development.
“We have some of the hardest working county employees in the state of Wisconsin, and Act 10 allows us the flexibility to reward good employees based on their performance and the necessary tools to hold others accountable to taxpayers,” Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said.
City of Green Bay
- Develop procedures that are both fair to employees and more effective for managers;
- Restructure selection process from seniority-based to an open process to identify the most qualified candidate; and
- Change health insurance plan design.
“We have a collaborative work environment where together we are making changes to improve process and procedure for the benefit of employees and taxpayers,” Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt said.
Village of Hobart
- Provide financial tools and flexibility to local governments that had been neglected many years, saving Hobart upwards of $200,000 in WRS benefits since Act 10
- Standardize public employee benefits to not only be competitive with other public employees, but also to the benefits provided in the private sector; and
- Allow local governments to be the entity responsible for developing competitive pay and benefits to attract talent.
“Act 10 provided local governments with the financial tools and flexibility that had been eroded for many years,” Village President Rich Heidel said. “Completely egregious benefits types and levels were finally able to be addressed responsibly. Act 10 “normalized” public employee benefits to levels that are comparable to the private sector and acceptable to the taxpayers, who also happen to have rights. Since my initial term in 2003, I have been and still am all about lowest possible taxes. To prove it, one only needs to look at our ‘Centennial Centre at Hobart’ development. The Village of Hobart enjoys being among the State’s fastest growing municipalities for the last five years and ‘top shelf’ caliber of municipal employees and services. Everyone, including public employees has benefitted from the recalibration.”
For more information about the positive savings and reforms related to 2011 Act 10, click here.