Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Walker Undermines "Be Bold" Strategy He And Others Touted

Gov.-Elect  Scott Walker and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently said good things about "Be Bold," an economic development and jobs-creation plan for the state drafted by a blue-ribbon working group, here.

But train your gaze at the plan details:

Look, for example, at recommendation number nine that suggests an assertive approach to resolving the state's oft-noted and historic lack of federal funding (See Tax Foundation data for Wisconsin) relative to other states - -"Capture Greater Share of Federal Dollars" - -  and square that with Walker's rejection of $810 million in federal funds designed to bring passenger rail to Madison and connect Wisconsin cities and their economies to Chicago, the Twin Cities and other Midwestern regional centers of commerce.

The rail line would also have created construction, manufacturing and other spin-off jobs, and supported a Spanish train assembly plant and headquarters operation to accelerate work in this budding national industry that was successfully recruited to Milwaukee, but now set to close in 2012 because Walker rejected the rail line federal grant.

Which leads us to look further into the report to recommendation ten, "Invest Strategically in State’s Infrastructure...Align developing rail strategies with state’s economic development strategy, so players in leading clusters are connected to each other, such as universities and market-leading companies. Use rail strategies to connect Wisconsin to Chicago and Twin Cities economies."

So the way to do that is a) reject a "greater share of federal dollars" and b) kill a rail connection "to Chicago and Twin Cities economies?"

As I said when I first read the headline on that newspaper editorial, it makes my head spin. 

And a tip of the hat to the person commenting on that posting as JPK.


Anonymous said...

It's not the total of the federal dollars we get back that is at issue.

It's getting our money back for programs that we are forced to provide - like Medicaid - where we rank 43rd.

Getting money back for stupid projects like 'somewhat quick' rail doesn't fix any of this!

Joshua Skolnick said...

@Anonymous...more cheap labor conservative hogwash. Perhaps if we had more renumerative jobs such as the ones we are sending away with Talgo ($60K plus living wage jobs) and the additional jobs generated from the rail line we would be able to contribute more to the tax base. Railroads have some of the highest benefit levels and wages of any job category, which is probably why reactionary cheap labor conservatives hate trains so much. We need Medicaid and the rolls have swelled because of an economy that was crashed by the cheap labor conservatives and because McWalmartJobs don't generate enough income to pay for healthcare.