I’ll give him one thing, the Governor must be a good poker player. You would have to be to go on so many programs and tell the lies that he has.
I had started to do the research on this, but in that time I found that WI State Assemblyman Mark Pocan has been steadily blogging about Walker and his GOP cronies plans from the beginning of this administration. He debunks among other things the current talking point; “this is what he said he was going to do about collective bargaining.” It’s simply not true, I couldn’t find it and neither could the assemblyman. Judging from the number of comments, no one is really checking this out excellent blog.
So here is a link , and let’s see if we can drive some traffic there. It would be great if there was a willing reporter to ask the questions that he raises.
Here is a taste of what you will find there:
2) Governor Walker has said, "This is not a shock." The Republican who took office in January said "The shock would be if we didn't go forward with this.” He was referring to his claim that during his campaign he said he was going to do the things that are in his budget “repair” bill. Not so fast, Governor. This one is a make-your-own project: Google ANYTHING about getting rid of collective bargaining, allowing a single committee oversight over sweeping reductions of access to Badgercare, etc. No, really. Try it.I’ll also add to this farce that now he blames Democrats for using Federal money (the stimulus) in orders to close budget holes in the past. All Republican governors took that too and I dare say there are some that would like to see it continue.
(will someone point this out to George Will and Lindsay Graham?) my words
5) Walker’s claims that states without collective bargaining having faired better in the current bad economy are wrong. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, three of the 13 non-collective bargaining states are among the eleven states facing budget shortfalls at or above 20% (Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina). Another, South Carolina, comes in at a sizable 17.4%. Nevada, where state employees have no collective bargaining rights (but local employees do) has the largest percentage shortfall in the country, at 45.2%. All in all, eight non-collective-bargaining states face larger budget shortfalls than either Wisconsin or Ohio.
9) Walker has said that our budget problems are largely due to employee wages. Not even close, Governor. Total salaries and compensation in the last budget were 8.5% of the entire state budget. Even with the changes being made to paying more for health insurance and pensions, the total is less than 1/10th of one percent. Our real problem is the same as every state – revenues in sales tax and income tax are down due to unemployment. Luckily, unless Walker really blows it, he inherited a lower unemployment rate and a better tax collection rebound than most states in the nation.
Governor Walker ran on job creation and not union busting. I live here, I follow this stuff, I campaigned for Barrett. Can anyone, anywhere name a candidate that ran on the platform “I will legislate unions out of existence”? No, of course not, no matter how right wing you are, you can’t say that and expect to get elected. No union would support you. Will some real reporter ask "So how does eliminating the payroll deduction for union dues fix a budget shortfall?"
No, Walker ran on “I will create 250,000 jobs in my first term.” To date he rammed through regulations that effectively kill wind power generation here, a sustainable, manufacturing industry that could have employed thousands. It will also put some of the states electric generation companies at a disadvantage as some have already started investing in this, and the WI Public Service Commission is mandating that the utilities need to be working towards 15% of generation by sustainables. Of course he also turned down a $800 million federal grant to build high speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison that cost 400 jobs and the loss of a desperately needed manufacturing plant the day he announced it. It also cost about 6,000 middle class jobs that would have been created. That’s 6,000 taxpayers. Not only that some municipalities and small businesses along the route had already made investments in anticipation of the new service. One of Walker’s top contributors was the road builders association. Several times during the campaign, Walker promised to go to Washington and have that same HSR grant turned into road and bridge repair funds. His opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in all the debates argued that it would never happen. That money was for one purpose only and if you don't use it for HSR it would be revoked. Mayor Barrett was right and pulling out of that program not only cost the state the funds, it also cost us $14 million in funds already invested that would have been payed back.
In the midst of this financial crisis, Gov Walker has been promising corporate tax cuts. He has eliminated the Combined Reporting Requirement which brought in about $189 million in the last biennium. This is a tax break that allows companies that operate in the state to essentially offshore profits to another state and avoid taxes here. Big beneficiary of this would be Koch Industries that have considerable coal and timber operations here.
Go and read Assemblyman Pocan’s blog , and then let everyone else know about it.
UPDATE: Thanks for the recs, but more importantly thanks for spreading the word. Here is an excellent comment from fla1sun which emphasizes that there is so much more damage in this bill than just the union busting. Walker's inauguration theme shouldn't have been "We're open for business" it should have been "were up for sale."
The lion's share of attention regarding Scott Walker's legislative proposal has been paid to the effort to revoke Wisconsin public employees' collective bargaining rights, but the 144-page bill (more reliable link here) is a far more exhaustive and inclusive list of the fundamentals of Republican politics in the 21st Century. Not many people have the time to plow through the whole bill but those who do will be rewarded with plenty of gems like this:
16.896 Sale or contractual operation of stateâˆ’owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any stateâˆ’owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).
If this isn't the best summary of the goals of modern conservatism, I don't know what is. It's like a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism. Extra bonus points for the explicit effort to legally redefine the term "public interest" as "whatever the energy industry lobbyists we appoint to these unelected bureaucratic positions say it is."
In case it isn't clear where the naked cronyism comes in, remember which large, politically active private interest loves buying up power plants and already has considerable interests in Wisconsin. Then consider their demonstrated eagerness to help Mr. Walker get elected and bus in carpetbaggers to have a sad little pro-Mubarak style "rally" in his honor. There are dots to be connected here, but doing so might not be in the public interest.