Burn Notice: Neumann to Walker

(No really, there’s a Burn Notice marathon on right now! Great way to spend the afternoon. Now in political news…)

Every once in a while a campaign rings the bell. Mark Neumann, Republican candidate for Governor, did so this afternoon with this press release:

WAUKESHA, Wis. – July 8, 2010 – Candidate for Governor Mark Neumann issued the following statement after his primary election opponent issued a budget proposal in Green Bay earlier today.

“I agree that Wisconsin should not be growing its government payroll.

“As a businessman and former math teacher, I am having a tough time understanding how eliminating positions that are already unfilled actually save taxpayers $284 million, when the money isn’t being paid out in the first place.

“I’m taking a business approach and have a comprehensive plan to cut state spending across the board, while allowing folks across Wisconsin to keep more of their hard-earned money. In fact, my plan will balance the state budget, and leave money available for tax cuts in my first budget and beyond.”

This is in response to Gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker’s BIG ANNOUNCEMENT that he’d cut 4,000 unfilled jobs.


I know these two are going at it on their own terms, but I’d like to add my own experience: Sometimes leaving a job unfilled is a whole lot more expensive than filling the job and paying the benefits. The City of Brookfield ran into this for a while with police officers. Overtime was putting a choke hold on the budget because no one would hire to fill the open positions.

I wouldn’t mind leadership who thought issues through before they make promises that don’t amount to a hill of dried beans. “Unfilled.” “Permanently.” It’s time for voters to read through the spin.


  1. It looks like Barrett got in on this one, too:

    Statement from Tom Barrett on Plans to Reduce State Spending

    For Immediate Release: Contact: Phil Walzak (414) 271-8050
    July 8, 2010 Gillian Morris (414) 975-0586

    “I am glad to see Scott Walker is following my lead in getting state government under control, but you don’t save any money by cutting positions that are already vacant. That’s a gimmick. I’ve proposed a real plan to Put Madison on a Diet that will save Wisconsin taxpayers more than $1 billion per year in spending cuts, and it includes a specific proposal to reduce middle management, phase out high-priced contractors, and ensure the state doesn’t have a workforce larger than it needs.”

  2. The other thing that everyone, but yours truly, has missed in all of this, is that this is the height of hypocrisy. In 2008, Milwaukee County had 717 fully funded but unfilled positions. In 2009, the number was smaller, but still in the hundreds.