Our County Executive Scott Walker is making his bid to be elected governor of Wisconsin.
Walker spent time as a Representative in the Wisconsin Legislature, before running on a "kick the bums out" platform for Milwaukee County Exec. In a political climate in which taxpayers saw huge pension payments being made to county employees, including elected officials, Walker was easily elected --- hopefully to clean up Milwaukee County Government, and provide value for the taxpayer dollar.
Unfortunately, Walker has mistaken providing value for our tax dollars, to underfunding essential services, and allowing the county infrastructure to deteriorate to dangerous conditions, as was recently realized when a panel from the O'Donnel Parking Structure fell, killing one and injuring two.
Walker had cut back spending on maintenance to the point where it became an "emergency situation" to quickly hire engineers to inspect all the county buildings and infrastructure. Before the disaster at O'Donnel, pieces of the county courthouse were falling off, and emergency and costly measures were needed to keep that building together.
Walker has continued to run on a political philosophy of no new taxes --- needed or not. With such a short sighted "short term" attitude, Milwaukee County and its citizens, mostly the poor, handicapped, and vulnerable have had to endure with:
MILWAUKEE COUNTY HEALTH CARE FACILITY
Milwaukee was once proudly known as having a progressive attitude in taking care of the sick and mentally ill. Under Walker:
* Patients in the mental health facility have been sexually assaulted
* There are numerous unfilled positions affecting the quality of care
* The facility has lost its certification (affecting reimbursement from the Federal Government)
* Taxpayers have spent over $250,000 to private lawyers defending against negligence lawsuits
PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
The level of service and accountability under Walker's watch and budget cuts, resulted in the State having to take over control and administration of services
COUNTY PARKS IN DISREPAIR
Although the County Park System has some great revenue generating features, such as the golf courses and pools, Walker has continually cut away at the parks staff and budget, leaving services at an all time low level.
Walker closed the pools early to save money --- during a heat wave, when they were really needed.
In a short sided move to cut the budget, park buildings have their heat shut off in the winter, while the plumbing is drained to avoid freezing, the deterioration of the buildings has accelerated due to conditions they were not designed for. Future fixes will vastly cost more than the skipped maintenance.
SAFETY NET PROGRAMS
Under Walker's budgets, the following programs --- that in the long run pay for themselves many times over, with lower costs for the criminal system, the emergency rooms at hospitals, and the protection of the defenseless --- have suffered from lack of adequate funding.
* Battered Women's Shelters
* General Assistance Medical Programs
* Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment
Once one of the best bus systems in the country, the Milwaukee County Bus system has been continually assaulted by Walker with increased fares, reduced funding, and the wholesale elimination of routes.
Ironically, as Walker has worked on demolishing a once great bus system, he is fighting the $180 Million dollar grant from the Federal Government for High Speed Rail --- threatening, if elected governor, to give any money back that is already spent, stop all aspects of the project, and allow the $810 Million to go to some other state.
There is one area in which Walker has continually supported increased spending and new taxes. He has tried to privatize virtually every aspect of County Government, allowing corporations to charge more for less service, while paying drastically lower wages to workers.
When in the Legislature, Walker was one of the main proponents of giving taxpayer money to the private enterprise of the Milwaukee Brewers. He voted for a special tax that would finance a new stadium for the Brewers --- which we are still paying today.
While county executive, Walker has fought against an increase in the sales tax to help finance public transit, but he saw nothing wrong in taxing all of us to support the millionaires' club of MLB.
Walker even fought against amendments that would have protected the taxpayer’s investment in Miller Park! He fought for a "no strings attached" financing for a very few.
We now learn that the "Stadium Tax" will continue longer than projected, possibly until 2018. Forecast to cost approx $400 million dollars, the Stadium Board now concedes that taxes will be collected in the $500 to $530 million range.
When all the tax breaks that Walker and his friendly political cohorts in the Legislature are figured into the Sweet Heart Deal --- the cost of the Stadium is estimated to be a cool $1.1 BILLION !!!!
Over a Billion Dollars is REAL MONEY to anyone --- but Walker followed old Tommy Thompson, when he said in reference to Milwaukee Area Taxpayers ---- STICK IT TO EM............
Hmmmmmm --- 1.1 BILLION$ for a private enterprise is ok with Walker --- but $810 million (mostly from the Federal Government) is too much ???
So I say --- Run Scott Run --- try to get out of town before the good folks of Milwaukee County have seen all the damage you have done.
UNFORTUNATELY --- in the long run we loose whether or not Walker wins for Governor --- if he loses the Governor Race --- he is still our County Exec --- if he Wins the Governor's Race .... God forbid what damage he can do on a statewide scale.
Maybe if he wins the Primary, he will resign his position as County Exec, since he will be spending much more time campaigning than earning his County Salary --- One could only wish.
OK FOLKS --- WHAT DO YOU THINK ?