"Milwaukee gains more than it loses in budget bill," reads the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headline. And so you understand why unions are in such a rush to hold recall elections before voters see the benefits of Wisconsin's new law:RELATED: Recall Elections To Determine Wis. Senate Control
Despite early criticism from city officials, new figures show Milwaukee will gain more than it will lose next year from the state's controversial budget and budget-repair legislation.
The city projects it will save at least $25 million a year - and potentially as much as $36 million in 2012 - from health care benefit changes it didn't have to negotiate with unions, as a result of provisions in the 2009-'11 budget-repair measure that ended most collective bargaining for most public employees.
That saving would be partly offset by about $14 million in cuts in state aid to the city in the 2011-'13 state budget, down from earlier estimates of more than $17 million.
As a result, the city would come out with a net gain of at least $11 million for its 2012 budget, slicing into the "structural deficit" created by costs rising faster than revenue, and reducing the spending cuts that Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council must impose.
That outlook contrasts sharply with Barrett's initial comments in March, after Gov. Scott Walker and the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released figures on the extent of the aid cuts in Walker's budget.
At that time, Barrett said the combination of aid cuts, rising expenses, a property tax levy freeze and exempting public safety workers from health care and pension benefit changes "just makes our structural deficit explode."