Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Shenanigans From Wisconsin's Governor

It has become apparent to nearly anyone that what is going on in Wisconsin is more than a mere budget dispute. One side is fighting for its economic life; while the other are a bunch of Koch Brothers' financed, dishonest, union busting, corrupt politicians who will do anything to advance their agenda. A little too dramatic? Not really.

A new article in today's Milwaukee Journal highlights a specific ten lines in Gov. Walker's new, emergency budget bill that the rest of the media has either missed or ignored. A provision in the bill would allow the governor to "sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without the solicitation of bids."

Notice the "without the solicitation of bids part"? The bill allows the governor to sell publicly owned power plants to anyone at any price -- bids not required. Guess who is in the power plant business? Yep. The Koch brothers, the largest donors to Walker's 2010 campaign. So, if Walker gets the bill passed, he can then sell or contract any power plant in the state to his campaign donors for whatever price they ask. The public receives nothing for the sale of its publicly owned property, and the Koch Brothers get to dominate all the energy in Wisconsin.

So, let's see if I understand how this scam scheme bill works. Gov. Walker gins up a fake budget "crisis" by claiming a massive budget shortfall (coincidentally this comes after Walker signed three Republican passed bills that flushed $140 million in tax giveaways to wealthy out-of-state corporations). When he cites a $140 million budget shortfall, and the non-partisan state budget office points out there was no shortfall before he took office and gave away the money, Walker claims the "real" deficit is actually $3 billion. Now, Walker and the Republicans claim that in order to avoid any layoffs and balance the budget, all public sector union workers (teachers, trash collectors, snow plow drivers, bus drivers, etc) must give up their right to bargain collectively, take a pay cut, and pay a higher share of their health care benefits and pension. The unions agree to the pay cut and the increased contributions, but not on the denial of collective bargaining rights. Walker and the GOP say no.

The Democrats who have fled the state to deny a necessary quorum for passage of the bill have vowed to stay away as long as it takes to make Walker come to the table to make a compromise. The collective bargaining issue is not actually a fiscal matter, and technically, the Republicans could vote for the entire rest of the bill - minus the collective bargaining restriction - without them. If it was strictly an issue of money, the vote could already be done. Obviously, this is not about the money. It's about destroying the unions and rewarding campaign contributors.

I guess giving away the state's most valuable assets to the Koch Brothers is just the cherry on top for Mr. Walker.


Darrell Michaels said...

Too bad there weren't enough civic-minded patriots that could have left Washington D.C. during the health care debate to prevent a quorum for the egregious vote on the unconstitutional Obamacare legislation.

I guess that is because, even though they knew they were going to lose the vote, they still had a responsibility to the voters to show up and be counted.

Too bad these cowards in Wisconsin are throwing such a tantrum when they realize they aren't going to get what they want in a vote.

Dave Splash said...

Yeah, and the right respects the idea of election outcomes, responsibility of governing, and precedent so much that their first act in charge was to waste the peoples' time with a futile effort to repeal a fully Constitutional law that they knew would never be repealed.

Walker was elected governor, not dictator. He can't just ram through tax giveaways for the wealthy and then cry there is no money. There is no money because he gave it away. This is a "crisis" entirely of the governor's invention and the Democrats in that state are doing the right thing.

Love how you completely ignore his attempt to giveaway public utilities to the governor's biggest political donors, the Koch Brothers. But, I guess Glenn Beck forgot to point that little fact out.

Dave Splash said...

And realistically, how is leaving the state to deny a vote any different than filibustering every single bill, regardless of content?