Scott Walker Touts Local Power, But Doesn't Always Defer To Local Governments.
On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Scott Walker speaks about shifting power from the federal government to state and local officials.
But as governor, Walker hasn't always favored more power for local officials. While often giving local governments more options, Walker hasn't been afraid to take a wide range of powers away from liberal local officials in Wisconsin who adopt policies unpopular with conservatives...
Walker and GOP lawmakers have passed a number of limits on local elected officials, drawing frequent criticism from Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie).
"He cut the power of city councils, village boards, county boards. It's shameful. These are big-government Republicans," Wirch, a former county board member, said of the governor and legislators. "They drive up to the Capitol with small-government bumper stickers and make big-government Republican decisions..."
Walker and legislators from his party have:
■ Set limits on tax and spending increases for schools and municipalities.Republicans blather on and on about local control and putting the power back in the hands of the people. But empowerment isn't their true aim. Rather, Republicans merely want whichever policy best allows them free rein to use federal, state and local government coffers as their personal piggy banks.
■ Pre-empted Milwaukee's residency rule, which dates back to 1938 and requires city employees to live within city limits. That law was reinstated last month by a state Appeals Court in a decision that is likely to be appealed.
■ Voided the paid sick leave law passed by Milwaukee voters in a referendum.
■ Restricted the duties and staff of the liberal Milwaukee County Board with a May 2013 law. That law also put to voters a proposal to cut the pay of elected board members by 50% and eliminate their future health and pension benefits, which county voters approved a year later.
■ Prohibited election clerks in urban areas from allowing early voting on the weekends. Walker did use his partial veto power to nix language restricting early voting hours in Milwaukee and other cities to 45 hours a week.
■ Limited local control over the siting of cellphone towers.
■ Given responsibility for liberal Dane County's water quality plan to the Walker administration while leaving the other 71 counties in Wisconsin alone.
Republicans talk of personal freedom, lower taxes and other platitudes from their playbook, but their end game is keeping power in their hands. The folksy, "you know better than the government" line they repeat ad nauseam is simply the candy-coating of the bitter pill they'd like us all to swallow.