Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Walker's Emissions Stunt Leaves People Exhausted

In yet another moronic move by Scott Walker and his Republican legislative henchman, they have thrown drivers and taxpayers to the wolves.

Instead of having a company whose sole job is to test vehicles for emissions standards, Walker, in his infinite lack of wisdom moved that responsibility to car repair shops, who would stand to rake in a lot of money when cars "don't pass" the test.

Walker's official stance is that it would save taxpayers a whopping $600,000, which translates to a whole dime for each of us!

But as a cogent person might have deduced, it's really not a good idea.

First of all, Walker's administration knew six months ahead of the initiation of the change, that it would cost 62 jobs.

Then there is a problem with the math. Under the old system, each car tested cost $4.95. Under the new system, the price per car dropped to $2 per car. We also know that in 2010, 626,099 vehicles were tested. Given those stats, the state should have saved $1,846,726.55.

So where did the extra $1.2 million go to? Apparently it went to pay the administrative cost for the new agency, SysTech International LLC, which is located in Utah.

If one figures in that the 62 people are collecting unemployment compensation, and in the deplorable job market situation in Fitzwalkerstan, they probably will be for a long time, that $600K will be eaten up in about 40 weeks.

So, so far, we have very little, if anything in savings, 62 people laid off and millions of Wisconsin dollars going to Utah. Brilliant, right?

But as I always advise the gentle reader, with all things Walker, there is more. There is always more.

Now, the repair garage owners are loving this new system. They say that it's bringing in new customers and hey, if the car fails the test, that's even more money for them.

But the fox would also love being put in charge of guarding the chicken coop.

Just two weeks into the new system, we are seeing problems with the system. The first red flag comes from a sudden increase in the number of cars that just happen not to pass:
Just two weeks into the shift of Wisconsin emissions testing to 198 repair shops and dealerships, the number of failing vehicles is already higher than normal.

For the past two years, an average of 6% to 7% of vehicles failed their tests at the nine centralized stations in southeastern Wisconsin, according to state data. But the average fail rate has increased to 9% since the test sites shifted to private businesses on July 2, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis of the 18,600 tests conducted through July 18.

Eight of the new testing locations had a fail rate of 20% or more.
As one could have expected, Walker's administration's attitude to this apparent skulduggery is "Nothing to see here, folks. Carry on."

And as many people could testify, a lot of places, even when you go in for something simple like an oil change, like to try to upsell the customer into buying a service or part that they don't really need.

And yup, we're seeing that with Walker's system too:
Marianne Meunier said her 2007 Chevy Malibu had never failed a vehicle emissions test, so when a mechanic on Milwaukee's north side told her this month that the car had failed and would need $2,500 worth of repairs to pass an inspection, she was distraught.

"I haven't had a problem with my car," she said. "I didn't have the money to fix it. My husband is really sick. So we have to watch how much we spend."

Meunier, 82, was skeptical but planned to take out a loan to pay for the repairs, which consisted of a broken sensor, a fuel pump part and a broken circuit board.

Her son, Terry Meunier, persuaded her to take her car to an auto-parts store instead, where a worker hooked it up to a meter that confirmed she needed the new sensor and fuel pump unit, but no circuit board. Based on that, a mechanic at another site gave her a new estimate of $417.

"That's for a tuneup, replacing the NOx sensor and replacing the sending unit in the fuel pump in the gas tank," Terry Meunier said. "When I found out they were trying to rip my mother off for $2,500 for work she didn't even need . . . Governor Walker shouldn't have done what he did. I didn't have a problem going to those emission test places. Now I have to go to these garages and deal with these crooks."
The report goes on to say that five of the 198 new facilities already have an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Well, doesn't that just raise your confidence level?

In sum, we have yet another one of Walker's "money-saving" schemes that actually saves next to nothing under the best of conditions, costs the state another 62 jobs and causes car owners to have to track down where to go and worry about getting ripped off.

Yep. Just another day in Corporate Fitzwalkerstan.


  1. What idiot couldn't see this coming? I never trust the auto repair industry and now they have free rein to screw us over.
    Some savings..........

  2. So Walker created dishonest repair shops? And if she failed at a state run agency, she would have went where?
    The truth is, which you dont want to tell of course, is that there is no more testing taking place. All that happens is the stored error codes are read from the vehicles computer. No tailpipe emmissions anymore.
    Most parts stores will either sell you a reader or read the codes free of charge and print them for you.
    Do we need a state agency to do this? I agree with Walker, no.

    1. Walker said yes, since he created this system, putting people at the mercy of dishonest repair shops. But the truth is becoming to difficult for you to deal with lately.

    2. KnowWhatISeeWhenISeeITJuly 25, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      I'll be cross referencing campaign contributions with the beneficiaries of this Walker scam. Perhaps Imusthavemyheadinawarmdarkplace can comment in advance on what might be found?

    3. what if the vehicle doesn't have a computer?the lady said it never failed before . kind of odd it failed for the first time at a private shop.

  3. Walker, as is per his usual, did not think beyond his droopy lip when it came to this anti-taxpayer idiocy of his. A person with a modicum of intelligence would have at least made it so that any business with a poor reputation could not be chosen as one of these testing sites. And, a database of the sites and any complaints would and should be set up to make sure they are not pulling a koch styled end around.

    Now, based off of Walker's style of corporatism, I would expect that we'll soon see plumbing companies inspecting septic systems (private of course, because we all know about the Kleefisch remedy for sewage dumping), meter repair services validating gas station pumps.

    Next thing you know, Walker will have Catholic priests doing home visits of convicted pedophiles, and Robin Vos will be the state popcorn tester for all popcorn vendors.

    1. You make a good point that maybe the system could be gained by a dishonest vender. I would think a payoff to a unscrupulous mechanic for a pass result would be the worry, but that's not the subject of this article.
      We only just began state wide building inspections under Jim Doyle. Prior to that, up north, it was anything goes.
      Are you making up scenarios to validate your points? Or is this sattire? I laughed.

    2. I feel WhatIsCommonSense is much closer to the truth than some of the other noise present here.

      That said, I'd like to suggest a correction:

      "Next thing you know, Walker will have Catholic priests doing home visits of convicted pedophiles,"

      Really the correct analogy would be to mandate that Catholic priests must investigate all potential cases of child sexual molestation where accusations have been made against those connected with the Catholic Church.

      In conjunction with this new public private partnership, Walker's Wisconsin would mandate that these same priests be used to both diagnose and treat various forms of childhood mental illness.

      For purposes of marketing this scheme there would be no new taxes, all the public workers formerly doing this could be fired, and if the State saves money by prosecuting fewer Father Feelmees, what's to not like?

  4. I had an excellent experience with my emissions tests. I knew and trusted the shop and didn't have to drive to West Bend.
    But, I'm grateful for this information. I figured there was potential for fraud but I haven't heard that there was immediate evidence of it. Plus the thing about shipping tax dollars to Utah. I hope this story gets legs.

  5. Why does it always come down to kick the public worker in the teeth? Why are so many people so anger with people they dont even know? One answer..blindly listening to Mr. Walker.

  6. What everyone is failing to see is the more money we have to pay for emissions ad emissions related "work" the more money the repair companies make and in this very struggling economy we all NEED to help the auto repair companies... Oh wait! "companies" huh sounds like Walkershit is at it again. Anything and everything to help companies,corporations, the 500k+ earners. Rather than the rest of us...