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Today’s Walker Flip Flop: Child Support Enforcement

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on August 9, 2010

Scott Walker’s office (the county one, not the campaign one, although it is increasingly more difficult to tell the difference) issued a statement announcing a Child Support Enforcement initiative for “Support your kids going back to school,” as part of National Child Support Enforcement:

County Executive Scott Walker announced that the Department of Child Support Enforcement is launching an initiative, “Support Your Kids Going Back to School,” in recognition of August as National Child Support Month.

“This program is vital for families struggling to find the resources needed to raise children today,” Walker said. “It encourages mothers and fathers to support their kids emotionally and financially.”

The County is offering coupons to parents who make an extra payment toward back child support debt. For every extra dollar paid, the parent receives a two-dollar credit against state owed interest.

The initiative engages parents in the program through community outreach. Representatives will appear at a number of events in August to talk to parents about paternity and support issues as they prepare their children to go back to school. A Milwaukee County CSE representative will be at the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) headquarters at 5225 W. Vliet Street through Friday, August 20.

The Milwaukee County Department of Child Support handles 132,000 cases each year; and provides a variety of services to Milwaukee families, including Paternity and Order Establishment, Support Order Enforcement, and Children First – a program designed to help paying parents find employment.

This is something to be applauded. After all, as I pointed out long, long ago, on a blog far, far away, that Child Support is one of the most financially sensible programs in the county:

…According to the National Women’s Law Center, in 2006, the child support program collected $24 billion for 17 million children-a fourth of the nation’s children. For every 74 cents the federal government spent on the program, it collected $4.58 in private child support dollars. This is money that single parents, usually mothers, can use to provide for their children and raise their families out of poverty. It is also money that doesn’t need to be spent in entitlement programs, such as welfare, Medicaid and food stamps.

Something Walker did well, right?

Well, not quite. It is actually another example of Walker flip-flopping on not just one, but two, issues for the sake of political convenience.

First of all, Walker does not like Child Support Enforcement. This program is one of the annual targets for cut backs when Walker comes up the the comically named budget proposals. Despite that fact that they bring in more money that they spend, Walker apparently feels that the tax payers don’t really matter. As usual with Walker, it is more about the appearance than the reality.

The other part of this pair of flip flops is how this program is being funded. It is being funded the ARRA funds that Walker repeatedly criticized and said he would not accept, until the County Board overrode his political posturing. In fact, the amount of ARRA dollars going to this program is over a million dollars:

It is a good thing that there are responsible leaders on the County Board that are not only looking after the tax payers, but are also looking out for our children, ensuring they can get all the help that is available. It is shameful that Walker has to be led by the nose to doing the right thing.

Also, it would be nice if Walker would be honest about things, just for once. That would be a really nice change of pace for him.

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