Friday, March 04, 2011

Waffling on Votes Already Etched in Stone

Republican Representative Jeff Stone has a long history of anti-Milwaukee County votes. It should be no surprise that he unquestioningly supports Scott Walker's extreme attack on the rights of Wisconsin workers (and all of the other radical policy infused into the "budget repair bill"). In fact if you look at what has become stock footage of Walker introducing his "budget repair bill" the face that you keep seeing over his right shoulder is Jeff Stone. Now that his unquestioning support of such an extreme agenda is becoming a major issue in the race for Milwaukee County Executive, Stone is desperately trying to have it both ways.

No matter how Jeff Stone wants to spin it, the fact remains that he voted for Scott Walker's "budget repair bill" and that rubber stamp action brings with it some dire consequences for both Milwaukee County and the rest of the state. Jeff Stone should have to deal with all of the consequences of his vote last week. That vote supported some of the following:

  • Taking away over 50 years of workers rights in a matter of days.
  • Even though police/fire personnel costs are often the highest expenditure items for municipalities, the Stone-supported legislation takes those local "tools"off the table.
  • Giving the right wing extremist heading the Wisconsin Department of Health Services unprecedented powers to wipe entire groups of people out of Badger Care programs. This could have a disproportionally negative effect in Milwaukee County.
  • Extending Walker's power grab by allowing him to replace important civil service positions with 35 more political appointees/cronies.
  • At a time when transportation dollars are desperately needed, the State of Wisconsin could lose upwards of $45 million in federal transportation funds.

The above list is just a sampling of what Jeff Stone voted for last week but he also joined the Republican majority to procedurally kill many amendments that were offered. The amendments that he helped to kill included some of the following:

  • Rather than sell valuable state assets on a no-bid basis, at least one amendment sought to require a competitive bidding process.
  • If we are going to sell off state power plants, one amendment sought to put the proceeds into a special account. Those funds would then provide grants to District Attorneys, counties and other municipalities for investigation, enforcement and prosecution in OWI cases.
  • One amendment provided that if portions of health care programs like BadgerCare were eliminated by the Governor that he couldn't obtain state provided health care coverage himself. So at least if the Governor were to take away health care coverage from scores of Milwaukee County residents, he would have to at least share in their pain.

So no matter how much Jeff Stone wants to have it both ways, the fact remains that he voted in lock step with the other Republican rubber stamps in the Legislature. His votes for this flawed bill are permanently etched into the record, as are his procedural efforts to kill meaningful amendments to it.

Jeff Stone's recent actions again prove that he is not a "moderate" and that he is simply a partisan follower of his extreme leaders. If his actual votes on this "budget repair bill" don't tell Milwaukee County voters enough about him, his current waffling on those same votes certainly should.

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