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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Scott Walker: Still a big fat liar

by folkbum

I subscribe to the Walker Weekly, for the entertainment value. But often the Milwaukee County Executive's email updates are not funny, but infuriating. The edition in my inbox this morning contained this paragraph (Walker's bold):
While School Choice is an important program for our community, two Milwaukee Democrats - including Senator Lena Taylor - are responsible for preventing a vote on the Barrett-Fields plan, which was put forward by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Democrat State Representative Jason Fields from the city's north side. While all 8 Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee stood prepared to back a motion that aimed to restructure the program's funding, Taylor and the other Milwaukee representative refused to introduce it. Ultimately, this will cost local taxpayers $22 million over the next two years.
This has come up before, and it became the subject of a hijacked comments thread at my jsonline blog. It was clear then that the Walker position on this was untrue. The Walker Weekly here continues to be drastically misleading, and the campaign's attempt to lay this in Lena Taylor's lap is just a lie.

Let's get this straight: While there was no vote in the Joint Finance Committee on the Barrett-Fields measure, there was indeed a vote on a measure to restructure the way the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was paid for, which passed without a single Republican vote. That measure was what the Governor included in his February, 2007 version of the budget, and that measure was modeled exactly on what Tom Barrett asked for in 2006. (Barrett changed his mind in the intervening months between the Governor's budget address and the JFC's work.) That measure would have saved Milwaukee taxpayers nearly $20 million. Taylor's actions did not cost taxpayers $22 million--that is, in fact, a lie.

While Republicans now claim The Barrett-Fields proposal would have had their support (the evidence at the time was sketchy), we know now that it would only have had their support in lieu of some of the other JFC-passed school measures that also would have provided tax relief to the Milwaukee residents, like funds for targeted science and math instruction, that meant savings of many millions more. In other words, had Taylor introduced the Barrett-Fields measure instead of the Barrett-Doyle one, Milwaukee taxpayers would have lost out on additional tax relief as a result--Taylor saved us money there.

And, if there really were eight GOP members of the JFC ready to back Barret-Fields, why did none of those eight bother to introduce the measure themselves? If Walker can blame two Democratic members of the JFC, then surely he can also blame the eight Republicans who also sat idly by and watched the Democrats--without a single GOP vote!--pass a measure to save Milwaukee taxpayers money.

The Walker Weekly goes on to say, "We deserve a County Executive that understands our needs and sides with us - not the special interests in Madison." (I'm curious who that candidate would be, since Walker technically isn't in the race yet.) I don't know what "special interests" this means. It's pretty clear that Taylor was doing work to benefit the Milwaukee taxpayers she represents. The package that came out of the Joint Finance Committee not only included exactlly what Mayor Barrett asked for in 2006, but also additional relief that added up to more than the $22 miliion Walker now claims Taylor cost us. Taylor supported all of those provisions, and the GOP--Walker's former colleagues in the legislature--did not.

You know what that makes Scott Walker? A big fat liar.

(Also, I think it quite offensive that the Walker Weekly demands that working mother Taylor surrender her per diem while the budget remains unfinished. At a Milwaukee County Labor Council budget forum--attended by no Republicans, remember!--Taylor talked about how even on a state senator's salary it can be hard to pay for day care. I suppose Walker's not volunteering to babysit for free, is he?

Oh, and why isn't he demanding that his former Republican Assembly colleagues give up their per diems? After all, it's the Assembly that's holding up the budget!)

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