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Milwaukee County Budget Is Already in Trouble

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on November 23, 2009

From Milwaukee County First:

Two weeks ago, I warned that the 2010 Milwaukee County budget had a big black hole in it that was not being addressed properly.

Last week, after the County Board finalized the budget by voting whether to override Scott Walker’s vetoes, I pointed out that it was an epic failure due to its unrealistic expectations.

In Sunday morning’s edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, they finally caught on to and reported the peril that Walker and the County Board has put the County into.

The article points out that Walker and the Board are expecting that the unions agree to large amounts of concessions.  However, these concessions have never been offered to the unions and there is no guarantee that the unions would agree to all of them.

As I pointed out in the previous posts, the amount of concessions wanted are unlikely to be realized due to a number of factors.

The end result will most likely end up with hundreds of more workers being laid off and services being drastically cut.  As the newspaper quotes Rob Henken:

Rob Henken, president of the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum, said it was unlikely the county could avoid another budget crisis in early 2010. The county is beyond the point where layoffs can be used as a patch for the county’s revenue woes without having “significant service cuts,” he said.

The only viable hope would be for the state to finally act on the referendum that was passed over a year ago.   Given the issues the state is dealing with, and the upcoming holidays, I have concerns whether they will be able to act quickly enough for it to help prevent a large amount of damage to the County and its services.

The simple fact that the County is in this untenable position only highlights the problems that can arise when politicians put their personal and political aspirations before their job and/or when they pay too much attention to special interest groups who are more worried about their own agenda rather than what is best for Milwaukee County and all of its citizens.

It is way past time for these elected officials to start owning up to their responsibilities and get to work on fixing the problems that they have created before they do any more damage.


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