Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Walker's budget will 'lead to degradation of quality of life'

Wow, Howard Fuller is ready to abandon the Walker ship. The long-time champion of school choice is vehement in his opposition to lifting the income caps for the program, calling the plan 'egregious' and 'outrageous.' Says if this plan flies, “This is when I get off the train.”  (See this article.)

Then there's Gov Walker's great job growth scheme - turn down federal funds for high-speed rail, gut government, cut corporate taxes, give corporations tax breaks, get rid of the Dept of Commerce and put in place one of those public-private agencies, ease environmental regulations, privatize, well, anything you can, and magically 250,000 jobs will appear.  Here's what a former Secretary of Development under a Repub governor, Chandler McKelvey, had to say about this plan: 

So what is Wisconsin doing now? For one, we are doing everything we can to demoralize our workers. It doesn't take a particularly wise person to see that the attack on public employees is part of an attack on all workers.

We also are taking steps to ensure that the quality of the education provided by Wisconsin schools and state universities is going to decline...

The only employers likely to be attracted by those blandishments are those whose primary objective is to make quick profits based on low taxes, feeble environmental regulations and the ability to exploit their employees. We would be foolish to think that those particular companies are the ones on which we want to build our economic future...

The current ideas about what's good for our state are totally alien to Wisconsin's cherished traditions and culture and surely will lead to a degradation of our quality of life.
Oh well, nice try, Gov.

So what kind of employers are we talking about? How about open pit iron mining Up North. Right. Job creation - at great cost to the environment. Because what Walker's approach really is about is not so much job growth but what kind of industries will operate here in Wisconsin.

May environmentalists win this one - please! We can certainly find other ways to help people get back to work, jobs that help enhance the quality of life rather than diminish it.

I listened to most of the morning's webcast from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families on Walker's proposed budget cuts (you can view here). Scary, what's going to be happening to already vulnerable populations if this all goes through. These folks make clear that revenue could be found to avoid these cuts - but that's not Walker's program. The one he has in mind will do what McKelvey says, "lead to a degradation of our quality of life."

Need some real leadership to push back on all of this. It is a frightening time for our state.

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