A Governor Who Gets It

Posted by | February 28, 2011 15:04 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

With all of the insanity coming out of statehouses recently it is refreshing to see some genuine insight.  Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana is guilty of rationality and fairness as he describes in an interview with Politico.

Let me tell you what I did a few years ago. I sat down and I negotiated with our public employee unions and I said to them, ‘Look, I don’t have a good feel about where the economy’s going right now. I think there may be a downturn and I don’t want to be in a position where we have to furlough workers, lay people off.’ So I negotiated, proactively, a zero percent increase in salary for two years, with the public employee unions.

And on the demonization of the public sector:

Can you imagine today the president of any corporation in America …getting a brand new CEO, and on the first day on the job stands in front of the cameras and says, ‘Let me tell you something about the people who work here, they’re all lazy, they’re paid too much and I’m going to cut their salaries and their pensions and what’s more, I’m not even going to negotiate with them.’ The stock market, the shares would drop by 10 percent in one day and the next day they would drop another five percent because you cannot run a company with low morale.

Schweitzer first got elected in 2004 and then was overwhelmingly reelected in 2008.  I have no idea if he has ambitions for higher office but he would be an outstanding candidate.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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