Friday, May 13, 2011

Walker's proposed budget a reversal of Wisconsin values

Governor seeks to undo ideals valued by the people

Gov. Scott Walker's actions have proven he's not a man of the people, that he's governing purely for his ideological beliefs as well as his campaign donors. His budget is the icing on the proverbial cake that demonstrates it further, and without a doubt, that Walker isn't interested in helping the people of Wisconsin during these dire times.

His plans to privatize FoodShare, Medicaid, and other assistance programs vital to Wisconsinites ignores federal mandates as well as failed initiatives by other states that have wandered down similar paths. The budget also centralizes these programs, meaning many services at the county level will no longer be available to people in various localities across the state. Privatization would save the state about $8 million annually -- while federal funds lost due to the ignored mandates would number in the tens of millions of dollars.

Walker's budget also makes substantial cuts to education, the largest the state has ever seen. The governor is proposing nearly $900 million in cuts to schools across the state, from kindergarten to college, averaging a loss in funding of more than $800 per student. But the budget goes beyond cuts alone and severely limits local school districts' abilities to raise the funds they need on their own. On that fact alone, schools will lose the opportunity to raise $400 million in revenue, meaning that education in Wisconsin faces more than a billion-dollar shortfall due to Scott Walker's budget plans.

The tax scheme in Walker's budget bill is warped as well. The governor prioritizes the wealthy elites' "needs," giving corporations and the rich huge tax cuts (in addition to the cuts they've already received in January). Meanwhile, the poorest of the poor not only get left behind, but blindsided as well -- by the removal of tax credits designed to help the most downtrodden, resulting in what's essentially a higher tax rate for the poor in our state. (Talk about kicking a group of people when they're already down!)

Don't believe for one minute that seniors are left out of this bill either -- Walker's budget would make substantial cuts to SeniorCare as well, affecting most if not all of the 90,000 Wisconsin seniors that take advantage of the program. A significant portion of those within SeniorCare will be forced into Medicare Part D, a solution that, in many instances, means our state seniors may have to choose between prescription medications and groceries.

These are just the basics, the things that stand out easiest, within Walker's proposed budget. There are many more aspects to it, items that go beyond what is mentioned here that hurt the average citizen even more. To say that Walker has a different idea in mind for Wisconsin is an understatement -- Walker isn't just proposing a new vision, but rather a complete reversal of Wisconsin values.

Wisconsinites have always treasured a strong education, have always thought that caring for our seniors isn't a nicety but a necessity, and that those with economic hardships deserve consolation and assistance until they get back up on their feet. Corporatist attitudes aren't valued as much as fair treatment of our neighbors, a common belief that we must treat those around us with respect and care when needed.

Scott Walker and his Republican allies ignored our Wisconsin ideals, and as a result many of the Republican state senators are facing recall. It's likely that, if Walker continues to ignore these ideals, that he too could face recall, even more than he's facing it now. Trampling on workers' rights is enough to sicken a large segment of the state's population; trampling on Wisconsin's values is enough to sicken the entire state itself.


  1. Dear Chris --- he is "undo"ing Wisconsin values, not "undue"ing them. Thanks. But your sentiment is absolutely right.