Friday, April 15, 2011

The (big) state government & local (damage) control

For as long as I can remember Republicans and other self-described conservatives have praised the idea of local control. It is the idea that the most local form of government knows how to best manage services because they deal most directly with their constituents. It seems that Wisconsin Republicans have all but abandoned that idea now that they have taken control of the entire state government.

Scott Walker and his rubber stamp legislature have taken extreme actions to greatly empower the role of the state and weaken the control of local municipalities. The first example was when they inserted (big) state government in between local municipalities and their own employees. Although many municipalities have had good relationships with their workers and with the unions that represent them, the (big) state government has ordered a one-size-fits-all approach that is both unprecedented and extreme. Not only is the state creating strife where none previously existed but it is also requiring local governments to play favorites. If you are a public works employee you are now second class but if you work in the police and fire departments you get every advantage.

The Republican plan to dramatically cut shared revenue to local governments also puts them into an increasingly smaller box. The (big) state government claims that their killing of public employee unions will make up for this dramatic loss in shared revenue. In fact a recent study showed that for at least 36 municipalities across the state, Walker's anti-union plans only covers 61% of the cuts that are coming to the shared revenue program. One mayor commented that "Simply shifting the state budget deficit to local budgets doesn't help the taxpayers of Wisconsin."

Here are a few more examples where Walker and his rubber stamps in the legislature are showing their new found love for the power of the (big) state government:

In all of these ways we can see that our local municipalities and counties will be left to handle state induced problems but with much less money and very little support. It is becoming increasingly clear that this new band of extreme Republicans don't really believe in "local control". Perhaps they only believe in local (damage) control when someone has t0 clean up the ideologically driven mess that they will leave behind.

UPDATE: Maybe these extreme Republicans don't even believe in local (damage) control. There are rumors that the next group of proposals from this extreme bunch involves a Michigan-style ability for the (big) state government to takeover municipalities and other districts. There already appears to be a shadowy group formed to advance the agenda. If the (big) state government decides that your local municipality/school district isn't up to snuff, then you get taken over by god-knows-who but it probably wouldn't be anyone that you voted for in the last local election.


capper said...

The shadow group to which you refer is merely GMC joined with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

MK Chang said...

I thought Michigan's governor was perhaps worse than ours, but apparently, ours wants to snatch the title back. I really hope it isn't true that a martial law is coming to WI. I wonder what Republicans and conservatives will think of Walker then!