|I think it's high time we let Gov. Walker |
know that "desperado" is an insult, not
a compliment. Of the people, by the
people, for the people. Megalomaniacal
lone wolf is not the most admirable
quality in a leader.
Call. Write. Share. Repeat.
Snail mail: Office of Governor Scott Walker
115 East Capitol, Madison, WI 53702
Phone: (608) 266-1212
In 2012, Scott Fitzgerald warned us: "If you think this budget is scary, wait until the next one," and the Senate held good on that threat by passing a kick-the-can budget more damaging than the last one by far. Rejection of federal healthcare funds will force 95,000 Wisconsinites off BadgerCare AND cost tax payers millions. Statewide voucher expansion and a double-dip tax credit for private school tuition doubles down on the attempt to decimate our excellent public schools. In addition, the budget provides a tax break that will only benefit the most wealthy, wages war on independent watchdogs in a purely political attack on the Center for Investigative Journalism, massive borrowing for crony highway projects, restrict public access to the Gogebic Taconite mine currently being blasted into the Penokees, strips local control even further, and opens the door to Dog the Bounty Hunter-style bondsmen. Further, it gives widely unpopular and unproven voucher schools carte blache by eliminating accountability, removing open records requirements, and not requiring certification or licensure of teachers or demanding uniformity of instruction. The end result: higher property taxes and fewer resources for the public schools already reeling under the $1.6 billion cut in the previous biennium - the largest cut to public education in any state in US since the Great Depression.
And these are just low-lights of the 1400-page behemoth* drafted behind closed doors by and with special interest goups like ALEC and the American Federation for Children who funded both the recall victory of the Governor and the campaigns of the budget's strongest advocates (most notably: Sen. Vukmir, Sen. Darling, Rep. Vos). It's not lost on the Wisconsin public that Bill Leuders, None of these largely sweeping policy changes were afforded a minute of public hearing.
Worst of all to anyone who cares about fiscal responsibility: the budget leaves us with a $664 million dollar deficit in the next biennium.
It's unlikely that Gov. Walker will begin listening to his constituents at this late stage in the game. It's even less likely that if he does, he'll be influenced by our pleas. And the comic part is that we all know he's more likely to use his veto power for evil than good. But that does not excuse us from the task of speaking out, it only intensifies the urgency of doing so.
The voices of reason in the Senate and Assembly were powerless against the nepotistic majority, but if we have learned anything since Scott Walker took office, it's that dissent is mandatory in the face of abuses of power, especially when the public is routinely disregarded and refused opportunity to participate in legislative discourse. Our silence is consent, and we maintain it at our peril.
We have an obligation, to our children and to those who have not been paying attention, to expose this budget for what it is and raise our voices in dissent: not in our name, and not on our watch. The world was watching in 2011. And the world should be watching now. This is what happens when your government is sold to the highest bidder. You get what they paid for.
Let's hope the Governor comes to his senses. Before it's too late.
* The word behemoth © appears courtesy of my friend Ryan Wherley, rabble-rouser extraordinaire.