NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED: GOP downsizing Milwaukee County supervisors instrumental in huge budget surplus | WisCommunity

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED: GOP downsizing Milwaukee County supervisors instrumental in huge budget surplus

That supposedly awful, incompetent, nit-picky Milwaukee County Board, so infested with (gasp!) duly elected Democrats and minorities that Republicans in the legislature are now busy dismantling it? Well, the board's policies, hard work and votes mightily figured in a new report: Milwaukee County has a nearly $25 million surplus from 2012 operations and the five-year budget outlook is encouraging. That's according to county Budget Director Craig Kammholz.

But don't expect the fast-tracked, unprecedented plan to meddle in local governance by downsizing and marginalizing the board will go away. Metro Milwaukee's major business council, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, former county supervisor Joe Sanfelippo (now a Republican state legislator) and most other GOP lawmakers in Madison appear dead set on cutting board supervisor pay drastically, making the board members part time and shrinking the size of the board by half. Yeah, that'll fix things. Fix 'em real good!

Kammholz told the board the biggest surpluses by category include mass transit, the Family Care program and other health care programs. Among the biggest deficits: The sheriff's office, which overspent by $2.5 million under control of wild-eyed Republican David Clarke. But no move in Madison to rein in Clarke. Instead, Republicans are intent on punishing the duly-elected lawmakers who were instrumental in producing the surplus. Because those locally elected supervisors have been getting in the way of the business community's aims and their tool Abele.

You see, the supervisors take their jobs too seriously, asking too many tough questions when businesses seek boons and spending too many resources researching policy issues. When, as everyone knows, it's the business community that expects to call the shots while demanding genuflection from taxpayers and politicians alike. That's why key figures in the Milwaukee area business community largely wrote the bill designed to gut the county board. Democracy be damned! We can't afford the luxury of it! We're in a hurry to make money, here!

Some public policy, that.

Now, it's true that the county board added spending to Abele's proposed budget, but that just means Abele was being overly austere, like most Republicans who are only too happy to punish struggling working families to pay for programs that continue to go to the well-off. By the time state Republicans are done and Gov. Scott Walker as expected blesses the real meddling into law, Milwaukee County supervisors will have half the staff and half the funds and half the time to serve twice as many constituents.

That's not only anti-democratic and anti-Democratic, it's part of the conservative "shrink government until it's small enough to drown in a bathtub" philosophy. As they're already doing in the case of the City of Milwaukee, which has suffered under drastic cuts in aid and similar meddling in home rule, the political cretins of the right will no doubt complain even more loudly when their policies frak what's left of good county government. Including those surpluses.

Published

April 19, 2013 - 9:03am

Author

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