Last night I offered space on this blog for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker to blast the crafters of the most recent budget compromise (likely to be approved later today) because that budget does not include a "fix" to the Milwaukee school voucher program's "funding flaw." Walker has been using State Senator Lena Taylor's support of one particular fix (meaning she didn't introduce a different one) to claim Taylor wants to screw Milwaukee somehow. (In the process, he's just being a big fat liar.)
When I wrote that last night, I noted that the (non?) campaign Walker Weekly would be hitting inboxes overnight, and maybe Walker would have taken the opportunity to do exactly what I offered him space here to do. Well, the Walker Weekly showed up, and what do we get?
Last Monday, Senator Lena Taylor voted for a budget that was bad for taxpayers, bad for the City of Milwaukee, and bad for Milwaukee County. Scott pushed for a NO vote - as did Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Still, Senator Taylor sided with Madison-interests before thinking about Milwaukee.That's so laughable! Taylor has consistently supported measures aimed at helping Milwaukee and bringing more funds into Milwaukee for property tax relief throughout this budget process. She did so on the Joint Finance Committee, did so in the Senate's version of the budget. Republicans in both houses, but mostly the Assembly, advanced budgets and budget ideas that cut the state's support of Milwaukee and other Democratic areas back to bare bones. The Senate and the JFC (without a single GOP vote, mind you) included specific and directed property tax relief for this city. The Assembly had nothing.
Continuing to vote no on these budgets, as Scott Walker's former colleagues in the Republican-controlled Assembly have done (and which many will likely do today), would mean that Milwaukee property taxes would shoot up considerably to make up for what the state would not be providing in shared revenue, school aids, and other funds. Getting the budget done will keep Milwaukee property taxes lower, period--and Lena Taylor supports doing exactly that.
LATE UPDATE: From Taylor's press release about the budget, just for contrast:
Taylor noted that the budget agreement will provide child care options for low income families, grants for community policing and drug treatment, and over $17 million in high-poverty aid to the Milwaukee Public School System. It also includes over a million dollars for the youth apprenticeship program, and a guarantee of health care coverage to all Wisconsin kids.Remember, apparently Scott Walker wants a no vote on this bill.
“For the last year my colleagues and I have been fighting for these funds in the Joint Finance Committee and on the floor of the State Senate,” continued Taylor. “I’m proud that our efforts have yielded the results our community deserves.”
Taylor was particularly pleased by the strong support the budget shows for education around the state. In addition to the poverty aid, MPS schools will receive $10 million in math and science achievement grants, aimed at narrowing the achievement gap. The compromise also contains increases in financial aid for college, millions of dollars in research support for UWM, and funding for the beginning stages of a UWM School of Public Health.
Taylor also believes that the budget will give a much needed boost to the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS). In additional [sic] to an overall increase of 2.5% to transit aids, Taylor proposed a several-million dollar increase to the MCTS to avert potential service reductions and route cancellations. That proposal ultimately found its way into the Senate version of the bill, and finally the compromise version that passed the conference committee.
For these and other reasons, Sen. Taylor said she would be supporting the budget compromise today, and urged her colleagues to do the same.
“Certainly, there are some parts of this deal that I am disappointed about – especially the cuts to courts and shared revenue for our city,” concluded Taylor. “However, now is the time to pass a budget and move our community forward – this compromise does both."