Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Walker Already Spinning Tall Tales About Taylor

Lena Taylor's campaign wasn't even officially off the ground when the Scott Walker campaign volleyed over its first tall tale.

Monday brought the second "Walker Weekly" in a row to my Inbox that claimed Taylor, as a member of the JFC, "voted against a compromise put together by Mayor Tom Barrett to protect Milwaukee taxpayers."

It continues: "Several media accounts contend that she voted against the Milwaukee position because of pressure from Finance Committee Chairman Russ Decker. In the end, her vote will cost local taxpayers nearly $28 million."

The Walker newsletter is referring to a plan to fix the funding flaw that exists as part of the school voucher program and results in Milwaukee residents paying more for a student to go to a voucher school than a MPS school.

The only trouble is, Walker's telling of the events is wrong on more than one count.

For starters, there was no JFC vote on Barrett's plan. The motion to consider it was never made.

That leads to the second error in Walker's claims, which is that media accounts identified Rep. Pedro Colon as the legislator who was pressured by Decker to avoid making the motion to consider Barrett's plan. Lena Taylor isn't mentioned once, at least by the JS (and I couldn't find another major outlet that covered it).

The third problem with Walker's claims is that a funding fix for the voucher program was passed by the JFC with Taylor's support. It wasn't the fix that Barrett asked for this past summer -- which would've applied to all voucher students, not just new ones -- but it would save Milwaukee taxpayers millions if it made it into the final budget.

And considering every GOP legislator on the JFC voted against the fix that passed, perhaps Walker should aim his apparent disgust at them.

Bottom line, Taylor has been focused on fixing the funding issue to protect Milwaukee taxpayers since the voucher cap was increased back in February 2006.

Has Walker ever taken the same position publicly?


Side-Note: It's worth mentioning that the Senate's version of the budget did away with the JFC fix in exchange for a new appropriation that would provide increased aid for high poverty districts like MPS. Specifically written into the legislation is a provision (pages 18-19) that allows MPS to use this appropriation, outside of revenue limits, to offset the reduction in aid that results from the voucher program.

The Assembly budget just axed the fix with no other provisions to compensate the loss.

And neither the funding fix nor the new appropriation for high poverty districts were included in the piecemeal bill passed by the Assembly a couple of weeks ago, which supposedly gave the Dems "everything they wanted" on K-12 education.

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Anonymous George Mitchell said...

Walker is correct. If Taylor or Colon would have proposed Barrett's plan there were 8 GOP votes for it when Finance considered the issue in mid-May. Neither Colon nor Taylor would do so, under orders from Decker.

October 05, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Any way you try to slice it, Walker was not correct. Even if Decker convinced Taylor not to make the motion on Barrett's proposal -- which there isn't any media evidence to support, as Walker claimed -- the fact still remains that Taylor supported a different fix as part of the JFC and a new appropriation that substitutes for the direct fix as part of the full Senate. That makes the "her vote will cost local taxpayers nearly $28 million" line grossly misleading and a bold faced lie when you consider the fact that a JFC vote never even took place on Barrett's plan. Looking at those facts, you're really going to maintain that Walker was correct?

And why didn't any of the GOP members on the JFC make the motion on Barrett's plan? And why did all eight of those GOP members vote against the less expensive fix proposed by Doyle (and supported by Taylor, Colon, Decker, and every other Dem on the JFC)? And why did the Assembly refuse to include any funding fix or the new appropriation for high poverty districts in its version of the budget and its piecemeal bill on K-12 education?

The bottom line is that Taylor is looking out for Milwaukee taxpayers when it comes to the voucher program, while Walker hasn't once gone on the record in support of either a funding fix for the program or some other suitable arrangement to compensate Milwaukee taxpayers for paying more to send a student to a voucher school than a MPS school. All Walker will say is that he wants to blow the cap off the voucher program, which would really hit the Milwaukee taxpayers hard if a fix didn't come along with it.

And, as an interesting corollary, why won't Walker come out in support of a funding fix? In spite of the lame attempt by the eight GOP members of the JFC to claim they would've passively supported Barrett's plan, Walker's party has made its position on the funding fix clear throughout the budget process by repeatedly refusing to include it in any formal proposals or bills, while the Dems have included something every step of the way. Could it be that Walker is keeping his lips sealed on this tax issue just in case it would come back to bite him in his next run for governor in a few years? Wouldn't want to seem like a petty shill for more Milwaukee money, would he?

October 05, 2007  
Blogger ΕΡΜΕΣ said...

When will this madness end?!?

Seriously, why can't people just agree to pay their taxes?

October 06, 2007  

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