MADISON-Scott Walker’s “State of the State” is going on despite snow emergencies across the state, but it is just as well, given the unproductive way his administration has begun. But here are four things we guarantee you will and won’t hear from Scott Walker during his address tonight.
Scott Walker continues to add to Wisconsin’s debt with bills that cost $142 million, and counting, while not creating a single job. He has promised further giveaways to corporations and the richest one percent of Wisconsinites. How is he going to pay for this? In Milwaukee County, he used phony budgeting techniques that turned surpluses into chronic deficits, and now the county, teetering on bankruptcy, is facing a $100 million structural deficit. So DON’T expect specifics.
Scott Walker ran on various gimmicks to mask fundamental truths. He claimed, for instance, to drive a late-model car, without mentioning the pricey SUV his family also leased, and the county-owned car he had at his disposal. He also claimed he gave part of his salary back, only to renege in 2008, effectively giving himself a $50,000 pay raise (at the same time giving himself an in-ground pool). He has never contributed to his state pension plan, and his family has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded health care. So DO expect a gimmick to mask the nice lifestyle he’s been able to afford as a career politician.
3. Smoke and Mirrors
None of Scott Walker’s actions during the special session purportedly about jobs will create jobs in the near-term, if at all. And yet Walker has sought to portray his shaky first days in office as being marked by “progress.” It is the same smoke and mirrors that marked his term in Milwaukee County, where he paid only lip service to job creation and actually shut down his own county’s job-creation office. Beneath the smoke has been a hard-right agenda that has changed liability laws to favor corporations that harm consumers; a push to end same-day voter registration and rush in voter identification requirements against the advice of state elections officials; and changes to laws protecting Wisconsin’s wetlands. So, DO expect smoke and mirrors to mask the real Walker agenda.
During his time in Milwaukee, Scott Walker continually deflected blame on everything from a crumbling infrastructure and lowered bond rating to dangerous conditions at the mental health hospital and a nearly dysfunctional county government. Now that he’s in Madison, expect more of the same and a total flight from accountability. Walker’s modus operandi is to declare emergencies and blame other parties as a way to enact policies that have nothing to do with the underlying emergency. So, DON’T expect any accountability.