Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In Wisconsin, Someone Else's State Legislator Will Be Your Alderman

GOP legislators and leaders - - doing Gov. Scott Walker's partisan bidding principally through the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee - - have decided to diminish local control, absorb the authority of municipal officials and run local governments from committee rooms and offices in the State Capitol.

Call it the politics of disenfranchisement - - Voter ID's bigger brother.

As the JFC works its way through Walker's proposed 2013-'15 state budget - - where state fiscal issues, not policy or partisan agendas, are supposed to be front-and-center - - legislators there and through other initiatives have busied themselves ending local public employee residency requirements, neutralizing local governmental ability to raise fee revenue, restricting what kind of local transit Milwaukee can buy with federal grant funds, and what levels of salaries and length of terms will apply to the members of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

On top of state-inserted Act 10 restrictions on local public employee wage and benefit decisions and labor relations, not to mention further degradation to public school budgets by expanding private voucher school enrollments and payment transfers.

All this determined from far away by state legislators who are writing and rewriting laws and overtaking decisions historically made for good reasons, after hearings and votes by local council and county board members, Mayors and County Executives allocating local revenues as the communities see fit

If local residents don't like the decisions, they can vote the local officials out of office, or make changes by referendum.

Too much of this spiteful, ham-handed interference is aimed at Milwaukee by GOP partisans still resentful over recall politics and are behaving like the worst winners imaginable.

Legislators who live far from Milwaukee have no business micro-managing and monkey-wrenching the affairs of a complex urban environment they know little about but enjoy using regularly as a campaign punching bag to remain in office - - or shall we say, these days, to remain in power.

And legislators backing the end of residency rules, like State Sen. Leah Vukmir, (R-Wauwatosa) have a direct conflict-of-interest because their districts are close to Milwaukee and will benefit from an influx of well-paid Milwaukee public employees whose city-supplied salaries and benefits will transfer to suburban housing markets and main street economies at Milwaukee's expense.

Determining municipal budgets, controlling transit decisions and overseeing residency issues are local matters.

State legislators motivated by partisan considerations should remove their noses from local issues and budgets.

People living in neighborhoods across the state don't need another alderman or supervisor from 15 or 150 miles away - - especially an unofficial 'representative' the local residents and taxpayers can't vote out of office for bad decision-making.


Nameless said...

How do you know it's "all about Tom Barrett"? You don't. Barret Schmarett. That whole meme is ridiculous. Walker is probably as scared of Barrett as Vos is of Larson. This is probably just a backdoor approach to doing to Milwaukee what has been done to Benton Harbor MI and Detroit. That's much more logical.
If there had been a Republican mayor in Milw. right now the only difference would be he'd be holding hands with Abele and helping things along.
But this is not that different than going in to Benton Harbor and kicking everyone out. This time the administrator is already in place, waiting to take over.

Anonymous said...

Barrett has one idea for Milwaukee spend $100 million on a 2 mile train which can be expanded at a greater cost in the future.

The residency thing is losing in public polls.

Put both on a referendum and Barrett loses.

He is out of touch with reality!