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What Is Scott Walker Waiting For?

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on July 22, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

Milwaukee County First Wonders What Scott Walker Is Waiting For

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court issued a ruling that a state raid on a medical malpractice fund was unconstitutional and that the State would have to reimburse the fund.

Scott Walker, who has been openly critical of Governor Doyle’s raid of this fund as well as the transportation fund, issued a statement about the ruling:

“The raids enacted by Governor Doyle are inexcusable and have wreaked havoc on our state budget, and now the taxpayers are yet again on the hook for his misguided policies. As governor, I’ll find ways to do more with less to fill the $2.5 billion gap created by Governor Doyle, and support an amendment that will protect funds like these from future raids.”

(Note: His original statement stated that he would sign the amendment, even though that would not be the governor’s job.)

What is a curious statement for Walker to make.

Shortly after being elected as County Executive in 2002, Scott Walker successfully had a county ordinance changed that allowed him to divert the money raised from a half percent sales tax from its original use, which was to pay for debt service on capital projects or to pay cash for these capital projects. Since having the law changed, Walker has diverted more than $112 million from these capital funds in order to fill holes in his budgets, masking what would have led to severe cuts in public safety services and/or massive tax hikes.

It is the diversion of these funds which has led Milwaukee County to its current state, with its infrastructure literally falling down on us, its roads being in such poor shape and why some county facilities are unusable due to their state of deep neglect and disrepair.

“It is nice that Scott Walker has finally realized how problematic the raiding of dedicated funds in order to cover holes in the budget can be,” said Chris Liebenthal, Chair of Milwaukee County First. “But it is disappointing that it took a Supreme Court ruling, and not the high human and financial costs he has caused to Milwaukee County tax payers, citizens and visitors, for him to realize this.”

“But given his newly found insight, I wonder why he would wait until the time when and if he is governor to put this wisdom to use,” continued Liebenthal. “He is supposedly currently working on the 2011 Milwaukee County budget, where he could put our money, and our lives, where his mouth is. What is he waiting for?”


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