Republicans gave Alberta Darling the Senate Co-Chairmanship of the budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance, and she's using her power to raise your taxes and making special interests the rewarded recipients.
Two Fridays ago, she and Republican Assembly co-chair Robin Vos added a budget provision mandating that all local government highway work projects of more than $100,000 be awarded to private road-building firms - - a move that would raise the price of these jobs.
Even State Senate President Mike Ellis blasted it as a "stupid" giveaway - - but it's still in the budget draft that Darling - - the River Hills senator facing a recall election, and Vos - - a Racine County representative - - are writing.
Said Ellis in a written statement:
“At a time when we should be encouraging local governments to save money and to get the best deal on their taxpayer money as they possibly can, here we are discouraging an effective means of keeping highway project costs under control. Why on earth would we discourage cooperation between communities for the benefit of taxpayers?Then, late last Friday - - the best time, apparently, to slip pork into the budget - - Darling and Vos struck again. They added a mandate that Milwaukee taxpayers continue to pay the salaries and benefits of fired police officers convicted of crimes. This was a sop to the powerful Milwaukee police union.
“Whatever happened to honoring local control? The state simply should not be in the business of micromanaging local government, especially when the state’s interference is almost guaranteed to increase local costs.”
Ellis said the provision “doesn’t pass the smell test.” It hurts local government, he said, and is costly to the taxpayer.
“The only ones who seem to benefit are the road builders. Last session I criticized Governor Doyle’s unnecessary and costly auto insurance changes as a payoff to the trial lawyers. It doesn’t look any better when Republicans insert just as unnecessary and costly provisions that appear to benefit their friends.”
Republicans talk loudly about controlling costs, but when it comes to rewarding political friends, they feel free to stick it to taxpayers, with Milwaukee residents and businesses at the top of the list.