Scott Walker: "It's their budget now."
By vetoing the entire county budget earlier this week, Scott Walker was again playing politics with the county budget crisis. Now that his veto has been decisively overridden by the County Board in a 14-5 vote, when the county is still in crisis next year -- which it would've been regardless of this year's budget make-up -- Walker can conveniently say that it wasn't him that did it.
Walker calls his veto "bold." That's ridiculous.
The people of Milwaukee County didn't vote him into office to tell the County Board it's his way or the highway -- they voted him into office to work with the County Board on the budget.
Even the Journal Sentinel called out Walker on his politically motivated reasons for vetoing the entire budget.
From Tuesday's paper:
What irks me most about Walker's move is that I actually agreed with him on a couple points on the budget, such as what to do with the county pools.
Walker could not easily use his veto pen to deal with the budget shortfall issue. By throwing the whole budget out instead, he accomplishes several things in addition to portraying himself as protecting the county's long-term fiscal health:
• He takes what appears to be a stacked deck against him on veto overrides and potentially puts pressure on some supervisors to vote with him by making the stakes larger.
• He avoids issuing vetoes of certain politically sensitive add-backs, such as those related to public safety, that could come back to haunt him.
• He keeps alive the issue of who will have to take responsibility if county workers get pink slips. Supervisors say it was Walker's idea to privatize, and he should get the blame or credit. Walker says supervisors are trying to have it both ways - keeping the jobs alive but not fully paying for them.
The plan of Parks Director Sue Black to modernize the pool system in the coming years was the best route to go. The cost of operating and maintaining a highly dated pool system has caught up with the county, and a change is needed. Walker was on the right track in September when he agreed to modernize the Lincoln Park pool in exchange for the closure of other pools in the system.
But by exchanging his veto pen for a veto grenade earlier this week, Walker forfeited the opportunity to negotiate this point and others. He simply gave the supervisors an all or nothing ultimatum, and they chose all -- some of them reluctantly, but not necessarily incorrectly.
These aren't the actions of a responsible county executive. Nor are they the actions of someone who's committed to solving this crisis over the long haul.
It appears Walker still has his eyes on the prize -- that prize just happens to be above and beyond Milwaukee County.