County Executive Scott Walker’s latest budget proposal bears no cuts to the parks or transit. That would look bad in an election year. Instead, it tries to force county workers further into a deep hole. The attempt to shaft county workers comes as no surprise. It’s full of dog whistles that Walker’s base will revel in.
First, in the face of a budget deficit, this budget would lower the property tax levy. While I believe I am capable of holding two contradictory thoughts in my head at the same time, that makes no sense. Why reduce your primary source of income when you face a $45 million deficit? (That’s already been answered: it’s campaign season.)
Second, he wants to force the county workers to accept layoffs, increased healthcare costs, decreased pension payments, and yet more unpaid furlough days.
Why, in all his years in office, has Walker never pursued alternate revenue sources for the county? He vetoed the county board’s resolution to ask the state to increase the sales tax in order to pay for parks and transit. That veto was overridden, like countless many more. But we still have no dedicated funding, other than the property tax.
And then there are the workers. The county government has been shrunk under Walker’s neglectful hand. It hasn’t yet gotten small enough or weak enough that it can be drowned in a bathtub. But he’s tried. The state government has been forced to step in and take over where Walker has allowed the county to deteriorate to the point where it cannot serve its constituents. That’s unacceptable.