Sunday, May 15, 2011

Walker's Recycling Of Failed Budgeting Schemes Could Cost Tax Payers

As Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker repeatedly kept doing budget-related grandstanding.  These stunts only gave him the appearance of actually standing up for the tax payers, when the truth of it is the tax payers usually ended up paying more for his stunts.

Examples of this would include when he cut staffing in the call center for the Income Maintenance Program to the point that the state had to take over the entire program to avoid a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit.  This in turn led to county tax payers paying several million dollars more for these services than if he had just kept the center staffed like it was supposed to be.

Another example would be when he ginned up a fiscal crisis that did not exist, and used that as an excuse to lay off the county security guards so that he could give a sweetheart contract to campaign donor Wackenhut.  When it was found that he did indeed violate county rules and policies, it ended up costing tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and double payments for the same service.  Needless to say, Walker's stunt cost tax payers much more than if he had acted like a fiscally conservative leader and left things put.

Now, as the worst governor in state history, we see Walker's pattern of irresponsible behaviors being recycled as he decided to try to slash the state's required payments to municipalities for their recycling programs.  This has at least the City of Milwaukee seriously considering suing the state:
Barrett says in his April letter the DNR’s transfer from the state recycling fund was “at minimum irresponsible and perhaps even unlawful.”

Stepp responds in an April 22 letter, “I understand the budget challenges that all levels of government face … Virtually all lapsable local assistance funds within the Department of Natural Resources were significantly reduced or totally eliminated to help meet our obligation to help balance the state’s budget shortfall.” She added, “The recycling grants to responsible units were no exception.”

Then, in a May 4 letter from City Attorney Grant Langley, the city’s position hardened. He writes that under state law, the recycling fund is established as a segregated fund that can’t be lapsed back to the general fund.  The statute Langley references reads: “There is established a separate, nonlapsible trust fund designated as the recycling and renewable energy fund.”

Langley calls the cut in recycling grants “illegal” and says the city plans “to explore all options available … to challenge the reduction.”

Barrett spokeswoman Jodie Tabak says the city is awaiting a response from the DNR, adding, “We are seriously considering legal action.”
If Milwaukee chooses to pursue this, they probably have a good chance to win it. And when they are successful, the state will then have to come up with the money to pay all the municipalities across the state. And the money that should have gone to these programs in the first place aren't going to the tax payers in frozen or even reduced taxes, but to the CEOs and the businesses that supported his gubernatorial campaign.

This would mean that Walker will either have to raise taxes, or more probably, cut more services that many of our most vulnerable citizens rely on, like Badger Care.  This, in turn, will lead to even more lawsuits and greater expenses.

We need to get an adult in that office and we need to do so as soon as possible. We can't afford any more of Walker's brand of fiscal conservatism.

No comments:

Post a Comment