Friday, June 16, 2006

Daddy Scott Walker knows what's best for us

Sometimes I think the people of Milwaukee County don't appreciate their county executive, Scott Walker, enough.

Every day, in every way, he's looking out for us.

He is ever-vigilant to protect us from taxes, or even to protect us from ourselves if we think raising taxes might be a solution worth considering.

At the moment, Milwaukee County residents are watching their quality of life deteriorate right before their eyes.

Many programs have been slashed or eliminated, sacrificed on the altar of Walker's anti-tax zealotry. Walker has made the county's problems worse by insisting on a property tax freeze come hell or high water.

It turns out that there is only so much you can cut before you hit the bone. That's what has happened with Milwaukee County parks.

The network of parks has always been one of Milwaukee's major assets, one of the things that makes it an attractive place to live.

But after staff reductions, reduced maintenance, and downright neglect under Walker the parks are falling into disrepair and decay. The solution, in his mind, is not to find more revenue to take care of this valuable asset. The Walker solution is to cut even more.

The latest depressing proposal, as a 90-degree weekend approaches, is to close almost all of the county's swimming pools after this season. If people don't like swimming in Lake Michigan, they can always go to the country club, I guess. Or open a fire hydrant.

Faced with the prospect of seeing the pools, the parks, and other services they value fall apart or disappear, some Milwaukee County residents and county supervisors have suggested the county at least consider a new sales tax to fund parks, the bus system, recreation and the arts, all of which are suffering from severe cuts.

There have been several proposals to ask the voters in a referendum whether they would support a higher sales tax, ranging from one-fourth of a cent to a full one cent, to pay for those services.

Approval by the voters would just be the first step, with approval of the state legislature and the governor required to actually allow the county to raise the tax.

The vote would be advisory, not binding. But it would give elected officials, the policy makers, a sense of public sentiment.

That will happen, apparently, only over Scott Walker's dead body.

Walker has consistently said he would veto any resolution to put the question on the ballot.

Why doesn't he want the people to vote and express an opinion?

He explained Thursday, after a county board committee voted to recommend putting the 1% added sales tax on the ballot in November. The Journal Sentinel explains:

Walker said Thursday that he was dead set against a referendum on any sales tax plan. Asked why, he said the public, angered by deep county budget cut ideas, might become more sympathetic to a sales tax increase in the months ahead. But, Walker added, people would be getting worked up for nothing because even if state approval for a tax were given, it is highly unlikely to happen in time to help the 2007 county budget.
So let's get this straight. Walker says that people might actually be willing to vote for more taxes, because they don't like his budget cuts? But he can't allow that because they would be "getting worked up over nothing?" If it didn't take effect in time for the 2007 budget, would the extra revenue not be needed or welcome in 2008?

It sounds like a case of Father Knows Best, with Walker playing the father. No need for the taxpayers to worry their pretty little heads about it.

It sounds a lot like Walker doesn't trust the people to make their own decisions, despite all of the Republican rhetoric about "letting the people decide."

The right-wing complains incessantly about the Nanny State, with government telling people it knows what's best for them.

No need for a nanny with Daddy Scott Walker around.

Aren't we lucky to have him?


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