Saturday, December 6, 2014

Two excellent, informed Journal Sentinel op-eds

Both pieces aim reason and data where they are not welcome these days  - - throughout Scott Walker's administration, on talk radio and in conservative advocacy groups - - so spread the information and arguments:

Supporting more transit instead of widening more highways:
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is proposing to increase fees and borrow more than $500 million from the state general fund (used for schools, health care programs and other services) to maintain and expand the statewide transportation system. The proposal discussed important revenue issues, but strategies to reduce spending received little attention. It is time for serious discussion about how we invest in our transportation system and to give more scrutiny to major highway expansion projects.
Opposing the sale of state assets as a budget tool:
[Walker] now confronts a dilemma. His "tools" of income and property tax cuts have not "repaired" the budget. As he pursues the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, the danger is that he will respond with another "tool": selling off the public domain by renewing his attempts to sell state power plants and prime public land in Madison in no-bid contracts. 
These privatization sell-offs will raise short-term revenue allowing the governor to take a victory lap on fiscal rectitude just in time for the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. But this will be by selling off Wisconsin's "family silver" — land, power plants and other basic infrastructure that are supposed to benefit taxpayers. 
The governor and his party's state Legislature should not sell off this public property, currently owned free of debt. This would provide rent-extraction opportunities for the buyers, turning Wisconsin's taxpayers into renters of property they once owned free and clear.

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