We already know about Scott Walker's distain for the federal stimulus (Recovery and Reinvestment Act).
- Originally he said "no thanks" to the millions of federal dollars that was set to flow into the county that he is supposed to be leading.
- Early on he wrote an opinion piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal about why he wasn't getting in line for federal funds (the same paper that recently reported that the stimulus was helping to lift the economy).
- In fundraising letters he bragged about abdicating his responsibilities and not submitting a list of programs and projects that could be funded under the Recovery Act.
- His obstruction was so bad on the issue that the County Board had to take action on their own to ensure that Milwaukee County taxpayers were going to get a healthy return on their federal tax investment.
- More recently Walker even commented on his Twitter account that the federal stimulus was not helping "real people".
His history on the stimulus and federal funding made three statements that he made this week all the more interesting.
On Monday he spoke at the Wisconsin Counties Association and suggested that the state was not sending enough funds to local governments. In that context he also complained that the state was using federal stimulus funds to fill state budget gaps. He conveniently didn't mention that the specific portion of stimulus money that was used for the state budget was precisely meant for that purpose. There are many millions of dollars that have flowed (and will continue to flow) to local governments from the state, courtesy of the Recovery Act that he has so strongly opposed. Actually that is what made his comment so strange. After all of his hating on the stimulus, was he really complaining that the state wasn't sending enough stimulus money to counties and municipalities?
Then on Wednesday Scott Walker put out a press release saying that he was "pleased to announce" that Milwaukee County was getting $3.85 million in grant money from the federal government for substance abuse and mental health programs. Heartland Hollar has already asked the obvious questions here:
"So why does Walker support accepting $3.85 million from the feds while at the same time opposing $2.3 billion in tax cuts over the next two years and 'a total $5.2 billion in tax savings for Wisconsin families and businesses
over the next three years included in the federal recovery plan.' Why does Walker accept $3.85 million when he opposes $3.7 billion in federal stimulus funds?"
Today is a new day and it also brings another new report of Walker's ever changing positions on the stimulus-style federal funding. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports today that Walker plans to use $36.6 million in federal funds for new buses for a "rapid transit" route. It also said that he planned on using an additional $29.7 in federal money to buy 125 new buses to help upgrade Milwaukee's aging bus fleet. I know that the $36.6 million comes from old federal transportation funds that have been stagnant for so long but exactly where is this new federal aid of $29.7 million coming from? Is this aid at all related to that dreaded stimulus package that Walker has never failed to attack? Even if this new federal money is not part of the actual stimulus, what exactly is the argument that makes this federal money good but the other federal money bad?
It should be no surprise that Walker is all over the map on federal funding and the stimulus. After the various announcements this week, I'm actually thinking that his press releases should come with the warning; "Don't blink, My Talking Points Change Quickly!"
UPDATE: Another day brings another way for Scott Walker to use the federal stimulus that he still loves to hate. In fact it appears that his entire plan, reported in the paper today, is based on the assistance that he would get under the federal stimulus.