The Janesville Gazette posted a short question and answer info-commercial about members of Gov. Scott Walker's local red state booster club, Forward Janesville, plan to fly out to Washington DC to keep the federal cash cow spigot open for their politically connected road building support base.
You might recall that it was the ALEC-like Forward Janesville and their vice-president of operations, Dan Cunningham, who slammed Tom Barrett in election year editorials for suggesting that local taxpayers get back a greater share of the money we send to Madison to help pay for repair and replacement of deteriorating local roads. Unfortunately, Forward Janesville's position prevailed. Gov. Walker returned fewer dollars to local taxpayers for roads, eventually forcing Janesville to enact its first ever municipal wheel (vehicle) tax.
Thanks Forward Janesville. Thanks Gov. Walker.
But because Walker continues to return fewer and fewer dollars back to the locals, Janesville is not out of the woods yet on road maintenance. Two years ago, I predicted that the local wheel tax could soon run up to $80 a year from under the pressure of rising costs, inflation and a backlog of unfunded road repair. Sure enough last October, the Janesville city council suggested raising the one-year-old wheel tax to $48 to pay for road work. That proposal has been shelved, but is likely to come back during the next city budget.
Now however, Forward Janesville has strangely taken to Tom Barrett's "local" approach for transportation dollars.
"We need to make sure that Wisconsin gets back on a dollar-for-dollar basis what it sends to Washington for transportation projects," Cunningham said.
The pecking order is rather obvious. Barrett asked the state to return tax dollars for local road maintenance and now the folks who opposed that say we need to make sure the state gets back dollar-for-dollar from Washington for the same.
Except, Forward Janesville asking the federal government for more money while it's still running deficits is very odd at a time Wisconsin is supposedly posting a "surplus." Why aren't they asking Walker to return some of that money for roads so we don't have to double tax ourselves?
It's even more amazing when so-called non-partisan city employees like Janesville's School Superintendent, Karen Schulte and Janesville's new city manager, Mark Freitag, will accompany the red state lobby group, whose legislative agenda and politics are largely responsible for busting local budgets, on the trip to DC.
Imagine if high ranking city employees were flying instead with the SEIU or Planned Parenthood for some education and health care dollars. The blistering rage would be endless.
Schulte and Freitag are definitely showing their true colors and raising their partisan credentials on this one. It is duly noted.