Saturday, April 6, 2013

Weekend Reading: Scott Walker

Job Slump Is Walker's Fault

Governor Walker's Fateful Decision On Rail
Now imagine an updated rail system carrying people from the Twin Cities to downtown Chicago in less than six hours — even faster than driving and on a par with a complicated airline connection. 
Oops! Don't consider it. That scenario is precisely what Walker killed when he gave back the $810 million — federal funding that would have paid the full capital costs of connecting Madison to Milwaukee... 
"Failing to invest in the infrastructure that undergirds the economy is a very dangerous move," says Kevin Brubaker of the Environmental Policy and Law Center. He rattles off the names of prosperous 19th-century American cities that decayed when their transportation links became obsolescent. 
How odd that a pro-business Republican governor didn't understand that dynamic.
Walker Loves Milwaukee? We're Not Feeling It
In 1951, Milwaukee County received only $1 back for every $2.10 its residents paid in state taxes. It was not until 1954, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court intervened, that population alone became the basis for reapportionment, and it was not until 1964 that parity was finally achieved, again under court auspices. 
Almost 50 years later, the imbalance has returned in a different form. Republicans considered population in their 2011 redistricting scheme, but they studied voting patterns just as carefully. The GOP packed likely Democrats into supermajority districts and gave their own party the statistical edge in contested areas. The results were not just anti-Democratic but anti-democratic. In 2012, Republicans won only 46% of the total votes cast for Assembly but took 61% of the seats... 
"If you want to keep people in the city," Walker piously advised, "you should have a great city." 
Excuse me? Where do you suppose the Brewers and the Bucks play, governor? Which city is the home of such giants as Harley-Davidson, Northwestern Mutual and the Manpower Group? Where is the state's most vibrant theater scene? Who's got the greatest concentration of fine restaurants? The biggest zoo and the best museum? Where does the Calatrava spread its wings? Where will you find one of the most gorgeous urban shorelines on the Great Lakes? The world's largest outdoor music festival? The state's greatest range of housing choices or, for that matter, the greatest range of human beings? ... 
The pull of the suburbs has been a powerful force in American life for decades - not just in Milwaukee - and it's clearly in any city's best interests to make residency a condition of employment. Milwaukee's rule has been on the books since 1938, and applicants still line up for jobs by the thousands. Those who are hired live among those they serve, and where's the injustice in that? ... 
Perhaps Walker's true colors shone most brightly during last year's gubernatorial recall election. The governor didn't just run against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; he ran against Milwaukee. His campaign ads showed polluted harbors and dead babies, and Walker actually said at one point, "We don't want Wisconsin to become like Milwaukee." You have to wonder if this guy even hears himself anymore. Most maps I've seen place Milwaukee well within Wisconsin's borders, but Walker ignored geography to score political points...
State-Shared Revenue To City Has Shrunk

YearState-shared revenue

Share of budget for general city services20032013
Fire Dept.16.1%17.9%
Police Dept.34.6%40.6%
Protective Services total50.7%58.8%

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