Posts Tagged ‘Scott Walker’

Sound familiar? Wisconsin might give more money back to feds

January 10, 2012

Similar to the GOP’s denial of funds to Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, Walker seems to be putting federal money in jeopardy as a way to display contempt for White House policy.

Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to stop work on Wisconsin’s insurance exchanges, which are mandated by health care reform, is shortsighted and could give the federal government more influence over the state’s insurance market than it should have. Walker and state officials should reconsider their decision.

Walker said in December that the state would halt work on the online exchanges until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the health care law. The high court is considering a collection of lawsuits challenging the law; a decision is expected this summer.

 Interestingly, the health care exchanges are one of the least ideologically controversial aspects of Obama’s health reform law. Like much of “Obamacare,” the exchanges were originally thought up by conservatives. It’s entirely in line with Walker’s philosophy of using government to direct business to corporations. However, since Obama’s name is attached to the policy, the exchanges, like high-speed rail, will likely either die or be horribly mangled.

Some real talk about Walker’s fiscal policy

March 8, 2010

Steve Walter, for Wispolitics, gives us a glimpse of the budgetary implications of Scott Walker’s most magnificent campaign promises. In case any of you haven’t kept up, Walker has recently come under fire for promising to “create 250,000 jobs” by 2015. Such a goal, if realized, would translate into virtual full employment in the state.

**Walker: “I want to lower the tax on employers…”

First clarifying question: By “employers,” Scott, do you mean all Wisconsin businesses?

If so, you’re referring to the “corporate income and franchise” tax, which totaled $629.5 million last year, and is projected to go up — by 11 percent — to $700 million this year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Democratic legislators, who said they were closing a “Las Vegas” tax-avoidance loophole, and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle last year raised taxes paid by large, multi-state companies.

Or, were you referring to payroll taxes businesses pay to finance unemployment benefits? If so, remember that Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance fund is out of cash, after paying a record $3.2 billion in jobless benefits last year.

Right now, Wisconsin has borrowed $1.1 billion from the federal government; by the end of the year that debt is expected to be $1.9 billion, which doesn’t include interest (that must be added in 2011).

There are only two ways to repay the federal loan, experts say: Raise taxes on employers, or cut benefits to the jobless. Which of those two changes — and what exact changes — are you recommending, Scott?

He asks similar questions in response to Walker’s property tax and income tax promises. It’s a pretty simple question: What are you going to cut Scott? Unfortunately, it’s a question that is rarely asked of Republicans.

Quote of the day

March 3, 2010

“I’ve worked for a lot of sleaze-balls. I’ve worked for some real dickheads. Scott Walker is not one of them.”

A Republican political consultant, in response to something a low-level member of the Walker campaign had told me. When I asked the person what Walker would do if he is elected, the person responded “What’s right.”

What is right, I asked. “Cut taxes.”

Remember Mark Neumann?

January 26, 2010

What is his political life expectancy? When was the last time you read an article about him? He’s usually mentioned in passing in articles on the gubernatorial race. The only recent campaign news is that he has pledged to spend $1 million of his own money to try to beat Scott Walker.

I ran into a member of the Walker campaign last night who told me that Neumann would drop out of the race “when the party tells him to.” Looking back, I realize he might have simply meant that Neumann will leave the race when he loses the Republican primary, however, the sly grin on the man’s face seemed to imply something that would come out of a smoke-filled room. Did state Republicans hope that a competitive primary would energize the grassroots and draw attention to the party and its policies, or did they see Neumann as a nuisance who would threaten party unity?

Both parties have proponents of these two diverging philosophies, and they almost always clash during primary season. You might think the “unity” argument is less powerful in state elections because the primary is relatively cut and dry – one election, one guy or gal wins, and the party is forced to accept. Moreover, I would guess that political parties are open to any strategy that will increase awareness among voters, most of whom are less interested in state politics. However, the primary is also much closer to election day, and although the grass roots may be excited about a competitive primary, most voters just get confused. “I’m like, conservative, who am I supposed to vote for?”

I’m guessing the GOP will start to pressure Mark Neumann to leave the race pretty soon.

Any thoughts?

Walker wins victory against gay rights

December 15, 2009

Journal Sentinel:

A Milwaukee County Board committee on Monday recommended that the full board sustain County Executive Scott Walker’s veto of a measure that would lay the groundwork for granting domestic partner health benefits to county employees.

What’s interesting and disturbing is how the opponents of gay rights frame the issue as a question of cost. One member of the board who had originally voted in favor of the proposal switched her vote, citing the cost, as if she pragmatic considerations would be taken into account when assessing other city benefits.

This argument is inherently based on the premise that gays don’t deserve the benefits as much as straight couples, but those who use it won’t admit it.

Get the jails ready!

November 27, 2009

So Milwaukee County may be facing deep funding cuts in its federally-funded drug outpatient treatment program. People are being put on waiting lists. Are you kidding? You really think the county government will let a nationally recognized (and relatively cheap) program die?

The county will seek to have the Access to Recovery grant renewed, but the county must prepare for the possibility of a reduction or even complete cutoff of federal money, Walker said.

Oh right.

Scott Walker cements his status as a visionary

November 16, 2009

…if by visionary, you mean a bigot.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker followed through Monday on his promised veto of a measure aimed at extending domestic partner benefits to county employees.

But why Scott?

He said it made no financial sense to even study the benefit’s cost at a time of such difficult finances for the county.

So, let me get this straight. A time of financial difficulty is reason enough to deprive individuals of equal rights? That logic is ironclad.

It is amazing the arguments people are coming up with to try to justify their bigoted views toward same-sex couples, but this one is on a whole new level. This makes it look like Walker may actually be opposed to civil unions as well. I guess that wouldn’t be especially surprising, but it would be especially indefensible.

A leader that will help us “Believe in Wisconsin Again” indeed.

Walker’s dream budget busted

November 10, 2009

For those of you looking for updates of the Madison city budget – you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. However, Cognitive Dissidence, who apparently is a more dedicated reporter than me, spent 17 hours at the Milwaukee County budget deliberations. This is the summary of his toil:

  • 3.8% increase in tax levy
  • No vehicle registration fee
  • No parking meters on the lakefront
  • Estabrook Dam will get fixed
  • The pools and community centers are saved

It looks like Scott Walker lost.

Scott Walker is a good politician

November 4, 2009

Because he seems able to convince just about anybody that he’s got the skills to pay the bills. Writes Joey Labuz:

It is clear Walker has the financial record to tackle many of the issues currently facing the state government. After all, he took over a Milwaukee County government rocked by scandal and near bankruptcy and transformed it into a semi-functional one.

Nonexistent government is not functional government, even by Grover Norquist’s standards. Also, a man who’s dedicated to alleviating Milwaukee County’s fiscal pain probably would not have railed so hard against accepting enormous sums of money from the federal government. The notion that Walker’s head is made for money mathematics was not pulled from the record. Like, all the other numbers Walker regularly cites, it comes right from the collective ass of the Republican Party.

Walker’s budgeting problems

October 13, 2009

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.