Scott Walker’s Budget Doesn’t Represent Our Wisconsin Values

Dear Editor:

Where we put our money is the best indicator of what we value. The Scott Walker budget being considered by the Legislature is an assault on the traditional values of the people of Wisconsin.

We value education. The budget cuts K-12 public education and higher education. It expands voucher schools and will make higher education much more difficult for many young people to access. It also threatens the future of the University of Wisconsin System with an ill-conceived quasi-public authority. And it will put Wisconsinites at the mercy of private colleges with the elimination of the Educational Approval Board.

We value clean air and water and the natural beauty of the state. The budget guts the agency charged with protecting those resources, hurts our parks, eliminates programs for clean energy and environmental studies, and suspends the program that protects our natural wonders for future generations.

We value treating each other with care and respect. The budget overhauls programs to help the elderly and disabled stay in their homes. It effectively ends SeniorCare, a simple program that helps seniors with drug costs. And it continues to refuse federal Medicaid funds that would save $345 million and provide health care to more poor people.

We value clean government. The budget chips away at this by moving the Judicial Commission to the Supreme Court, moving the Government Accountability Board’s computer systems to the Department of Administration, moving the civil service system to DOA, and centralizing many other key agency functions in DOA. It also effectively eliminates the secretary of state’s office.

We value fairness. The budget contains about $300 million in tax cuts that will go primarily to the wealthy.

All of this is unnecessary. We have a fiscal crisis only if our elected officials choose to have one. The tax cuts could be eliminated — $300 million. The federal Medicaid dollars could be accepted — $345 million. The tax cuts from the last budget that are still being phased in could be frozen — millions more. This budget is a ruse to implement the public policy agenda of the Koch brothers, who, the last time I checked, are not residents of this state.

Ernke Wittwer

Richland Center, WI

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