Now that a budget compromise has been worked out, we can see that the final plan lacks the Tom Barrett-Jason Fields "fix" to the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program "funding flaw." It seems there is something--the Milwaukee Public Schools must use part of the additional money the budget does aim their way to offset property taxes--but not what people like Scott Walker and George Mitchell so desperately want.
I know this, because Scott Walker has devoted two editions of his (non?) campaign's Walker Weekly to a non-vote in the Joint Finance Committee (yeah, their budget sure went places, ain'a?). You can find the gory details at this earlier post, if you want, but Walker is trying to blame Lena Taylor for not putting forward one particular fix to the flaw, when, in fact, she supported a different fix and more funds for MPS that not a single GOP member of the JFC voted for. Apparently, voting for more money for Milwaukee is, in Walker's mind, tantamount to betrayal. Taylor, by the way, is Walker's opponent, assuming he decides to run for re-election as Milwaukee County Executive.
George Mitchell, of School Choice Wisconsin fame, has carried Walker's Taylor-attack water on the blogs, including mine (see the comments to the post I linked above, for example). Mitchell has gone after Taylor and Pedro Colón (running for a city-wide office now and, therefore, a fancy new target) with incredible aggression. But Mitchell has not voiced a critique of his allies in the Republican-controlled Assembly who managed to pass a budget that lacks not only the Barrett-Fields "fix" but any "fix" at all! That makes me suspicious that, as with Walker, this is less about a "fix" than about Taylor.
The last comment Mitchell left here reads,
Jay, [y]ou imply above that this is about defeating Sen. Taylor. But, of course, if there is a school choice funding fix--my objective--it is a political win for her. Only if the budget includes no fix does she face political consequences.It's now been about 72 hours since the announcement was made outlining the compromise bill. The Walker Weekly will show up in my inbox sometime overnight, so who knows, maybe Walker will rail against Doyle, Huebsch, and Robson for not including a "fix." The School Choice Wisconsin website is as-yet silent on the lack of a "fix"--Mitchell's "objective," remember.
So, to George Mitchell and Scott Walker, I offer up this space. Post a comment or email me with your outrage over this deal and those who brokered it--Lena Taylor and Pedro Colón had nothing to do with it!--and I will post it here for all to see. Whenever you're ready.