Monday, March 5, 2018

Wal-ker foot-steps, clap clap, clap clap clap!

Polling shows statewide doubt about the wisdom of Walker's beloved Foxconn deal. 

The signs have been evident for months and summarized at this post since July, because Foxconn at Walker's direction will tax people and state budgets for decades, is upending state road spending, throwing out long-standing environmental standards, will emit air pollution, heavily taxes local governments near the site, comes with no transit or housing components for the projected thousands of workers, needs a Lake Michigan water diversion which raises substantial supply and discharge problems, etc. etc. 

And a very worried Walker is aware of all this.

In July, 2017, I pointed out some of the obvious risks staring Walker in the face as he began adding big highway spending from statewide coffers to ballooning billions for Foxconn: 
In round numbers, there are about 360,000 people in various cities, villages and towns in the counties of Racine and  Kenosha, and also about 600 people in the Jackson County Town of Northfield on the other side of the state, and all of them have a vested interest in the $3 billion from various public funding pots which Walker and his fellow Republicans want to throw at Foxconn...
Note, however, that Walker tossed 250 million borrowed dollars into the $3 billion deal for Foxconn via the state budget whenever it's approved to hurriedly complete the over-built, under-funded reconstruction and expansion of I-94 though Racine and Kenosha Counties which Vos had been demanding even before Foxconn made the news...
$250 million could have repaired most or all potholes on our state's rutted and poorly-ranked roads, which is why it would be useful to ask the good people of cash-strapped Northfield, Wisconsin across the state from Vos' district where the main road has crumbled back to gravel what they think about Walker and Co. throwing around staggering amounts of public highway borrowing like kids at the county fair's ring-toss booth which all the people of the state will have to repay.
And speaking of what local folks think, remember that Walker's break-the-bank, bet-the farm Foxconn plan also will require unnamed municipalities gaining some or all of the electronics firm's buildings to contribute to-be-determined local financing through the borrowing procedure known as Tax Incremental Financing, or TIF.
Through TIF, a municipality borrows to construct streets, sidewalks, street lights, parking and other enhancements for a development, then repays itself with the fresh property taxes a project (hopefully) generates...
The catch is that until the borrowing is paid off over years and decades, that increment - - the project-spurred tax payment growth - - must go to pay down the TIF loan payments and does not flow to local governmental services, like schools, police, fire or public health program costs...
I'll bet local residents across Racine and Kenosha Counties will ask their mayors, town chair and common council members if their budgets and service needs can take the strain and limitation that come with the GOP's borrow-and-spend planning the underpins the Foxconn deal.
As, later, I noted in December:
Expect Walker to deny, distract over $30 mil. Foxconn road
Walker is using our money to bet his re-election on convincing taxpayers far from Foxconn's site in SE Wisconsin that what's good for Mount Pleasant there is good for Mount Horeb, Mount Hope and Mount Calvary, too:
Taxpayers paid for a thinly-veiled Scott Walker re-campaign visit to Green Bay last week, as our right-wing Governor and Foxconn bellhop keeps trying to convince taxpayers far from the Racine-to-Chicago Foxconn gravy train that they will benefit from the $3 billion in public subsidies collected from taxpayers statewide that Walker is shoveling to Foxconn at the expense of programs and growth in all 72 counties...
Send Walker back when the winter thaw leaves Brown County with a few thousand new potholes that can't be repaired because I-94 near the Foxconn site needs another lane
As I noted two months ago
Given Walker's fevered love affair with all things Foxconn, you'd have thought he'd have cut a ribbon when road-graders launched the first of hundreds of millions of dollars of Foxconn-related roadwork this week on a two-mile upgrade of frontage road along the Racine County project's site.
But Walker can't highlight the lavish road spending he's ordered for Foxconn right in the middle of pothole season without drawing attention to the road projects statewide Foxconn will drain of funding or push farther down the priority list - - and which will inevitably get more expensive through inflation, or be forgotten altogether. 
As I wrote in mid-January
The [state electoral] turnaround can happen in November...
I'd argue that of late he's taking his successes for granted and following a counter and potentially self-destructive path - - the Politics of Indifference - - when it comes to much of his base, and to basic governance, too...  as Walker transfers hundreds of millions of dollars in state transportation funding, plus billions in state tax breaks to the Foxconn project in the Southeastern corner of the state while roads statewide have deteriorated to the second worst in the country... 
How is it special interests like [Kohler golf course] donors, or Foxconn keep getting more and more resources from the state... 
Progressives and grassroots activists and Democratic opponents should be able to defeat Walker's Politics of Indifference with passionate organizing, clear-mindedness about the role of government and an agenda of equity, honesty and empathy.
And because potholes, polluted water, rampant wildlife disease, subsidies for multi-billion dollar foreign businesses, short-changed schools and parks with higher admission fees while donors get all the parkland they want isn't the Wisconsin we want.
And as I added last weekend: 

So I'm glad to see this strong story in the Wisconsin State Journal that suggests that indeed the times are a-changin' because there's something clear happening here:

Unease growing in Wisconsin GOP base over environmental rollbacks
Since taking over state government in 2011, Republicans have eased pollution enforcement, sold off public lands, rolled back protection of ground water, curtailed Department of Natural Resources scientific research, and silenced DNR experts who once were free to publicly comment on legislative proposals...
But Republican-leaning hunters and anglers have begun debating whether the changes have gone so far that they are threatening the lakes, streams and access to hunting land that have made the state great, said Rodney Sempf, a middle school teacher in northeastern Wisconsin who loves to hunt and fish.
I've argued that Walker's contemptuous enabling of widespread and continuing environmental pollution harms traditional Wisconsin values and treats his voting base with a contempt which would catch up with him:
Walker's politics of indifference ignores base, basics 

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