Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Wisconsin's Political Crisis Is a Good Deal More Serious Than Its Fiscal Crisis"

Cartoon by David Horsey (

John Nichols (The Nation):
What we cannot figure out is this: Why, if the state is in so much trouble, did Walker engineer the enactment of roughly $140 million in new tax breaks for multinational corporations, which the legislature passed in January? Why did he rush to reject federal transportation funding that other states—states with similar or worse fiscal challenges—have rushed to collect? Why, in the very week that he was pushing his budget repair bill, did the governor reject federal broadband development money that Wisconsin’s rural counties have been seeking for years?

The answer to all of these questions is that the governor has made his budget decisions not with an eye toward fiscal responsibility but with an eye toward rewarding his political benefactors. Out-of-state corporations, road-building interests that did not want competition from high-speed rail, telecommunications corporations that want to cash in on the demand for broadband all benefitted from the decisions made by the governor in January. Now, in February, the governor says that Wisconsin needs to end collective bargaining for public employees and teachers and alter the way in which the state operates on multiple levels in order to address a fiscal “crisis.” MORE...

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