Dale Schultz’s Last Hurrah
The retired Republican lawmaker dumps on his party and explains how Walker snookered him on Act 10.
Longtime Republican state senator Dale Schultz, who recently retired, is not heading quietly into the sunset. Instead he’s been firing shots at the party which he represented during 32 years as a state legislator. Schultz served in the Assembly from 1982 to 1991 and in the Senate from 1991 to 2015, including a stint as Senate Majority Leader from 2004 to 2006. He represented what had been a swing district in western Wisconsin, prior to the 2010 redistricting, and was known as a moderate. Schultz worked with Democratic state senator Tim Cullen to create a compromise mining bill, with more protections for the environment, which Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-dominated legislature rejected.
As the Cap Times has reported, Schultz appeared in December on the “Devil’s Advocate” radio show in Madison, where he blasted Republicans. And he just did an interview with liberal blogger Bill Kaplan, taking more shots.
The most interesting revelation, as reported by Kaplan: Schultz says he was prevented by Walker from proposing an amendment to Act 10. The senator wanted to create a sunset for the law, which largely eliminated collective bargaining for public employees. He was “decoyed” into a fruitless meeting with the governor, Schultz says, and thus never proposed the amendment. At the time the Senate vote was a such a close call a moderating amendment stood a chance of passage.
Other Schultz comments from both stories:
-On Act 10’s sweeping impact: “I had not at all realized the revolutionary nature of what was going on.”
-On the partisan divide: “How much pain do we have to dish out in this state to one another before we finally realize that we have to get along and… compromise with one another?”
-On the impact of right-to-work: It “is going to hurt Wisconsin employers terribly in the long run, as the workforce gets more angry. I represented a lot of blue-collar labor people, both union and non-union. So I know that even the wages of non-union workers are determined by collective bargaining…it has an impact.”
-On the impact of Republican changes on public schools: “The K-12 system in the last few years has laid off 3,000 personnel, and it looks to me like that’s going to accelerate. Out my way, I would not be shocked if a huge percentage of school districts wind up going to referendum to have the privilege of raising their own property tax because the state has walked away from its principal responsibility of providing for a free, appropriate and near equal education for everybody.”
-On the impact of expanding school vouchers: “We can’t afford one system in this state. How we are going to… fund two is beyond me.”
-On the UW System funding: “The university has been absolutely eviscerated in the last budget… we’re in a position to do real damage to a world-class university.”
As to the long-term impact of the Republican revolution, Schultz says, “the hangover from Walker will be spectacular.”