Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the massive cuts to education and programs for the poor by the new Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. In that article, I mentioned that Gov. Rauner seemed to be parroting the budget methods of Governor Brownback in Kansas and Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, both of whose state economies have been floundering under their respective austerity programs.
Well, it seems that in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has gone even farther in his attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class by proposing massive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, while attempting to wrest control of various agencies from the public domain and capturing them in the Executive branch of government.
“The DNR is full of scientists who grew up hunting, fishing, boating, or otherwise recreating in Wisconsin and then found a way to turn this into a living. It just so happens that the work they do benefits those of us who love the state’s great outdoors. Perhaps some other lucky state will get the benefits of their knowledge? We can hope so. We won’t know for some time what these cuts mean to the small businesses that are kept alive by people being able to hunt, fish, or recreate in the areas where projects took place. Estimates put the direct cuts to DNR positions at 66. Their knowledge and the research lost, however, are irreplaceable. ” Crooks and Liars
Gov. Walker is cutting 66 different positions and programs at the Wisconsin DNR in an attempt to balance his budgets without having to raise the taxes on the wealthy and on corporations that he cut when taking office. You can find a partial listing of these program and position cuts here. While the cuts are devastating, Mr. Walker did not stop there.
” Of course, these cuts don’t even BEGIN to make up for the giant budget hole Walker’s dug for himself. And also of course, he wasn’t finished yet. The bigger prize was wresting control from the good people who, in a non-partisan manner, have tried to preserve the environment for future generations by stripping the citizen-governed Natural Resources Board of its authority. It’s now a powerless “advisory panel”, something Tommy Thompson tried to do but was stopped because back then the Republicans were not yet a wholly owned subsidiary of energy companies and other major donors. A few even seemed to understand that you couldn’t continue proud hunting, fishing and other outdoor hobbies without things to hunt or fish!” Crooks and Liars
Cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations and prevent the University of Wisconsin system from raising tuition to make up the shortfall from the cuts, all while increasing money to voucher and charter school programs. I wonder who benefits the most from that plan?
If Walker’s economic vision had been successful in adding jobs and cutting deficits, his austerity program might be something worth crowing about. However, his programs seem intent on cutting any and all programs he needs to, just to make sure he can keep cutting taxes on the wealthy and on corporations.
However, the result of the Walker “austerity for everyone else” program is Wisconsin is near the bottom in job creation.
If these austerity programs had an equal impact on all citizens, they might be more acceptable to the vast majority of citizens who are negatively impacted by them. Shouldn’t the wealthy and corporations be required to pay more when ordinary citizens pay with the loss of their jobs and loss of benefits due to the various cuts by Gov. Walker? Wouldn’t that be equitable?
In light of how poorly Wisconsin’s economy has been doing under Gov. Walker, I can’t understand why our Governor here in Illinois, Bruce Rauner, would want to emulate those programs?
By the way, how is Wisconsin’s economy doing when compared to its neighbor, Minnesota?
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