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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Issue of the Week: More GOP Resistance to Walker’s Agenda

Plus: Hero of the Week

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Reports are surfacing that even more Republican legislators are now opposing parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial state budget.

In addition to rebuffing Walker’s eagerness to expand the voucher school program to nine additional communities, it seems that some Republican lawmakers are also questioning the governor’s plan to put $1 billion on the state’s credit card.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau came out with a new analysis of Walker’s bonding plans. His budget calls for $1 billion in new bonding, which would overwhelmingly go toward road-building. But even that eye-popping amount of borrowing won’t cover Walker’s road-building plans. He’s also raiding $445 million in funds from other state accounts to blanket Wisconsin in new roads—roads that may not even be needed, given the decline in driving around the state. Worse yet is that he is raiding funds intended for public transit just so he can reward his road-builder pals.

Independent-minded Republicans are wary of Walker’s borrowing scheme, which we welcome.

But we also wish that state Republicans would seriously question Walker’s proposal to reduce the state’s coffers by $343 million in the form of an income tax cut that will mostly go to the highest-earning Wisconsinites. In addition to shrinking the state’s revenues as a way to shrink state government now and in the long term, the tax cut will not put more money into the pockets of those who need the extra money the most. According to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Council on Children and Families’ Wisconsin Budget Project, more than 750,000 people would not benefit from Walker’s tax cut, nearly all of whom earn less than $30,000 annually. The loss of tax revenue would likewise force more cuts to safety net programs that also help the state’s most vulnerable.

We’d love to see Republicans push back against Walker’s regressive tax proposal. But even though they’re willing to buck their leader on borrowing for more roads they seem to be ideologically opposed to helping low-income residents struggling to get by in a Walker-weakened economy.

 

Heroes of the Week: Match Day Organizers, Supporters and Donors

Supporting local organizations is an effective way to positively impact our friends and neighbors who need a helping hand. One of the many initiatives supporting area nonprofits is Match Day, a yearly online giving event coordinated by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to increase support and raise awareness of the ongoing need for local food and emergency shelter services. The event was held March 14 and raised money for 21 food and shelter agencies, including the Center for Veterans Issues, the Cathedral Center, Hunger Task Force, Repairers of the Breach, Milwaukee Rescue Mission and Guest House of Milwaukee.

This year’s event brought in donations from more than 5,000 individuals, with each contribution proportionately matched with money from a $750,000 pool, resulting in a total of more than $2.8 million raised in 24 hours. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation and its partners—including the Brewers Community Foundation, Faye McBeath Foundation, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and other local funders—contributed to the match pool.

“We thank all our community partners and the individuals who gave so generously for their great and meaningful support,” said Rob Guilbert, vice president of communications and marketing for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “Match Day truly demonstrates how our community can come together to make a wonderful difference in the lives of people in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties.”

Visit matchdaymke.org or greatermilwaukeefoundation.org for more information about Match Day or to view the results.

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