Walker’s budgeting problems


Cory Liebman, the tireless Scott Walker watchdog, has highlighted a series of fundamental problems with Walker’s attempts to privatize Milwaukee County services. Liebman’s most recent observation centers on Walker’s proposal to privatize Targeted Case Management, a county program that helps the chronically mentally ill.

There are at least 7 potential private vendors that provide services similar to TCM at an average cost of $2,656.55 per client. The cost per client that is allotted for this program in Walker’s 2010 budget proposal is $1,781.41. The actual cost to privatize this service would be 49% more per client than Walker’s numbers imply. A more dramatic difference is revealed when you examine the cost per client for CSP services. The average cost per client for the private companies is$4,252.12. Walker has allotted only $2,342.67 per client in his proposed budget for that program. The actual average cost per client by the private companies is nearly 82% more than what Walker allots in his 2010 proposed budget!

Although Liebman’s concerns are probably well-founded, the conclusion is a little more dubious. Private services tend to lower their prices to try and win government contracts. Therefore, if Walker has provided a certain amount of money for a program, it may be under the assumption that whoever wins the contract will have that kind of money to work with.

Nevertheless, if Liebman is correct, this certainly wouldn’t be the first time Walker’s team has had trouble putting numbers together.

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