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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, November 11, 2007

McIlheran Watch: Setting The Bar Low

by capper

Patrick McIlheran wrote an editorial column singing the praises for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. He praised Walker for consistently proposing a county budget that reflected no tax increase from the previous year's budget. But this as far as he goes with being accurate.

First, McIlheran points out that for every dollar spent on the parks system, almost three times is spent on health care for retirees. I won't squabble on the numbers, but would like to point out that this particular benefit ended in 1995. This means that any county employee hired after January 1, 1995, will not receive the free health care. McIlheran also blames this on "the way labor peace was bought decades ago". Again, he forgets to mention that it wasn't a burden for the taxpayers until health care costs started to accelerate at an unreasonable rate. But instead of blaming the insurance companies or the high-priced health care providers where the blame should rest, he chooses to blame politicians from decades ago.

What really caught my eye was the title of the column, "'Same as last year' a reasonable place to start". Now given that the parks are in decay, inmates are escaping from the House of Correction and sometimes killing people, people with mental health issues are living in squalor and sometimes are allowed to die, as well as the transit issues, the problems at the court house, and all of the other issues Milwaukee County is currently facing, I would not consider this a reasonable place to start. Unfortunately, due to Walker's misadministration this is where we are forced to start.

No, it is not a reasonable place to start, and it would be an even more unreasonable goal to maintain this status quo, even if Scott Walker would have to pony up another $12.50 in taxes next year. McIlheran may be willing to live in that type of world, but I, for one, am not.

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