Robin Vos, a GOP legislator, popcorn business owner and social critic from the Racine County metropolis of Burlington, Wisconsin, (pop. 10,400, and, by the way, 0.9% African-American) has been elevated by his colleagues to the rarefied position of Assembly Speaker.
And it is from that perch from which he can see clearly what the people outside of Milwaukee expect from the lesser City of Milwaukee (pop. 600,000) and Tom Barrett, Mayor.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Monday that he is open to talking to Mayor Tom Barrett about the challenges facing the city, but noted that Milwaukee needs to find new ways to save money and become more efficient.
Vos said making that effort "would be a good faith way to reach out to fiscal conservatives in the suburbs."Vos is right.
Milwaukee needs to make folks in River Hills and Brookfield and Chenequa and Greenfield feel better about Milwaukee, and Milwaukee needs to do something about why governance and programming in Milwaukee costs so darn much money.
* Like those police and fire personnel payrolls. Spending there makes up the biggest piece of Milwaukee's operating budget - - 59.7% city officials tell me - - including city payments for employee benefits kept artificially high by Act 10 exemptions enacted by Vos' party for partisan, political reasons.
* And like Milwaukee public school costs - - the biggest piece of local property tax collections (about 40% of the total levy, as I read this chart) - - which are inflated for property tax payers by the transfer of state funding through private school vouchers expanded by Vos' party for partisan, political reasons.
* And Vos, as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, knows something about fiscal discipline (if you overlook the taxpayer meter that's running to pay lawyers in the continuing struggle to exact records on redistricting that GOP-hired lawyers just can't seem to complete, and the huge costs coming in litigation the GOP is inviting over the industry-written, treaty-trampeling, constitution-crushing mining bill).
If there was only something Vos could tell Vos about why the biggest ticket items in Milwaukee public budgets cost so much money.
Maybe Vos could have some of this fixed in the budget process. If there were only some true fiscal conservatives from the suburbs in the Legislature willing to make "a good faith effort to reach out" to Milwaukee.