Saturday, February 28, 2009

Walker defends not taking the stimulus

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has an article in today's Wall Street Journal explaining why he did not submit a list for the federal "stimulus" bill.

Wisconsin now faces an unprecedented $5.75 billion budget deficit, fourth-largest in the nation. Many municipalities also face deficits. My county, however, finished fiscal year 2007 with a $7.9 million surplus and will break even for fiscal year 2008 when the books are closed next month. Why? Because we made tough budget decisions demanded by the taxpayers.

State and local officials who failed to do so are looking to the federal government for a bailout. But what happens when the stimulus money is gone? Is the federal government committed to funding the projects it will now underwrite forever? I'm not willing to bet on it.

The stimulus is a classic bait-and-switch. Once the highways are built and social-service case loads have increased, Wisconsin will be left with the bill to maintain the new roads and services. This will force Wisconsin to raise new taxes. Gov. Doyle and legislative Democrats are already discussing higher taxes on hospitals, retailers, employers and even Internet downloads to feed their spending addiction.

The stimulus is also a bait-and-switch on employment. While the stimulus package might create a few construction jobs, the federal money will run out and those workers will lose their jobs. Even worse, most of the money is actually spent on new government programs and on bailing out failed state and local governments.

For the vast majority of residents of my state, the stimulus funds will not help them pay the mortgage or replenish their depleted retirement savings as they worry about being laid off.

Kevin Binversie comments:

My problem - and this may be some residual thoughts from being on the Mark Green Gubernatorial campaign - was how Scott initially explained it. I’ve long wondered if Scott is even aware at times how every press release his office issues is dissected by the legions of liberals and Democrats in Madison and Milwaukee who’ve sworn almost a blood oath vowing his destruction.

This means Scott Walker (and his future gubernatorial campaign) must carefully parse his words when speaking to the state MSM. This doesn’t mean Scott can’t be Scott, it means he needs to make sure his message is clear from the moment it leaves his mouth or campaign office. He’s not going to have the advantage of simply sending off an email to Charlie Sykes to further explain what he meant, or getting on the phone to Mark Belling to bail him out of any future press conference or press release gaffes because the statewide left will not let him a chance to to explain things taken out of context in a 24/7 blog post-tweet-YouTube World.

Walker’s Op-Ed in today’s Wall Street Journal is a great step forward to making sure his message fits any future campaign.