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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Starve Them First, Then Trade Food For Control. Works Every Time

To some of my readers who may have felt a bit confused by my opposition to the BTC referendum question asking for an annual $4M tax hike into perpetuity, I ask you to click this link to Blue Cheddar and read their take about a state study committee expected to convene soon on Wisconsin’s technical college system funding and goverance.

Blue Cheddar Excerpt:
Committee Mission:
“The Special Committee is directed to review the current governance model of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) in the interest of transferring governance responsibilities of local district boards to the state WTCS Board and examine the current funding model for the WTCS with a preference toward reassigning current local property tax revenue to a broader state tax source.”

Well now, there wasn't a major funding problem until Scott Walker came along and made it a problem. Remember he cut a quarter's worth of "broader state" funding (state aid) away from the schools, returned only a nickel later forcing property taxpayers into a referendum question to restore the rest. As Blue Cheddar so accurately described this entire situation local taxpayers have suddenly found themselves in, the tech colleges are now set up "for some of Walker’s patented “cares too much” treatment."

Of course this is not a new ploy of his. Much of Walker’s budget agenda is designed to make publicly funded utilities and institutions so imbalanced and unaffordable to local taxpayers that they have no choice but to hold restoration funding tax hike referendums, sell them off or happily give up local control entirely. The Janesville landfill is another local entity that quickly comes to mind facing the same consequences.

But first, the only way Walker can accomplish his goal is by cutting state aid funding to the bone on those publicly-held targets, and then generously offer to restore state funding later, BUT only if you’re willing to give up something in return – like local control of the schools to private interests. Remember, he balanced his budget. He's the hero. Why can't you balance yours? But that's OK because Walker is coming in for the "save."

Never mind the fact it was Walker who put the tech schools into this heightened state of funding desperation in the first place.

Regarding the BTC budget and much of the state of Wisconsin, the state money was always there. The state budget office projected a surplus of nearly a billion dollars. But projected surpluses don’t help Walker’s central state controlled privatization agenda as much as it serves as a tax cut meme to win re-election. Does this all sound familiar? It should. It's happening in real time.

I've stated my reason to oppose the local BTC tax hike referendum and I admit it's not based on the substance of the referendum question itself, but on politics. I'm a political guy so nothing on my position about the referendum has changed.

But the story posted at Blue Cheddar might help you fill in the gaps to better decide for yourself on the local referendum question coming in August. Keep informed.

I'd like to think that we're all up against a real funding problem, but we're not. The deliberate cuts in state aid, the tax credits to his business donors, the spending down of a projected surplus through tax cuts and then the plan to wrest away local control in trade for a restoration of state funding appears to be a well-oiled and deliberate redistributive agenda of no fault to local officials or those local institutions. We can expect to see this play out again and again if Scott Walker wins re-election in November. It's not the Wisconsin way.

Representative John Nygren, Chair; Senator Sheila Harsdorf, Vice-Chair
Wednesday, July 24, 10:00 a.m., Room 411 South, State Capitol Organizational matters.

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