Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Doyle's Milwaukee Budget Initiative Good Start

Gov. Jim Doyle's pledge to coordinate budget assistance for Milwaukee is a wise use of state funds and the policy-setting power of the Governor's office.

Combining new investments in education, UW-M research, Workforce Development, law enforcement, transit makes good business and policy sense for the city and the state.

While the dollars are important, so is the attitude.

For too many years, Milwaukee has been a convenient punching bag for politicians at the Capitol and outstate who scored partisan or special interest points at Milwaukee's expense.

Remember former Gov. Tommy Thompson's "Stick-it-to-Milwaukee" line when the five-county sales tax increase for a new baseball stadium was under discussion?

Then there are those Milwaukee-only laws placed on the books at the behest of the politically-powerful and generous Milwaukee Police Association.

Those laws punish Milwaukee taxpayers by a) making them pay for $100,000 annually of police union official salaries, and b) keeping officers on the payroll after being charged with crimes during lengthy justice system appeals.

Gov. Doyle is right to use his budget to direct the state's attention and more funds to Milwaukee, because as the state's largest municipal economy and cultural center goes, so goes the state.

And while he promotes his budget initiative - - with the help of Milwaukee's legislative delegation and local officials - - Doyle could add to its its impact by helping to wipe those costly, anti-Milwaukee laws off the books.

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