Where’s the Local Control Caucus?
I always thought that Republicans had a fetish about
local control, claiming that local leaders, being closest to their
constituents, were the best ones to make decisions for their communities.
But I guess they’ve become state-control fetishists.
Yesterday, toward the end of the Assembly’s debate
on AB 85, the Milwaukee County “reform” bill, state Rep. Christine Sinicki and
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca chastised the Republicans’ trampling of
Sinicki listed a host of measures that Republicans
passed to seize control of matters best handled by municipal and county
governments and school districts.
Let’s see, Sinicki said. The Legislature didn’t like
Milwaukee County’s advisory referendum on the sales tax, so it didn’t allow the
county to implement it. It didn’t like the city’s binding referendum on sick
leave, so it blocked it. Selling MPS buildings? Pass a bill to bypass local
Barca called out his colleagues who serve on county
boards, naming them the “local control caucus” and asking them to vote against
AB 85—which, incidentally, overrides the county board's attempt to reform itself.
They didn’t listen to Barca, of course, and passed the bill on a
60-38 party-line vote.
So now we have yet more efforts trample local
control—the Republicans’ efforts to kill Milwaukee’s streetcar plan to satisfy their tea party supporters and also
end residency requirements (or vastly loosen them) for public employees.
State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) wants to
insert the streetcar proposal into the state budget, an allegedly non-policy
document, while bypassing the Public Service Commission. So it wouldn’t get an
up or down vote on its own.
The JFC went along with his request on a party-line
“This is big government Republicans, folks!” jeered Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) before voting against it.