Tom Barrett used Act 10 but he really didn’t want to

That Walker kid made him do it.

Little Tom Barrett, caught carrying a slingshot in front of the broken window, issues the culprit’s lame defense. “He made me do it.”

It is well documented that the Milwaukee mayor used Scott Walker’s very own Act 10 reforms on collective bargaining to force concessions from his city’s public employees to balance his budget. He actually said they didn’t go far enough. Wanted them to apply to his police and firefighters, too.

Doesn’t that totally undercut the Milwaukee mayor’s rationale in the recall election?

A great article in the online magazine Salon records Barrett’s standard defense. Steve Kornacki writes: “He says he had no choice – that the state slashed Milwaukee’s aid, that he couldn’t make up for it with property taxes, and that the only alternative was mass layoffs and deep cuts in city services.”

Blah, blah, blah. Look at me, Tom. What choice did Scott Walker have? Don’t you think Gov. Walker was faced with the same dilemma: a $3.6 billion deficit, one-time stimulus money gone, the special-purpose funds already raided by Doyle (illegally, in some cases)? Don’t you think his alternatives were the same: raise taxes, enforce mass layoffs, cut services?

Read the headline in the print edition of Wednesday’s Wisconsin State Journal: “School districts balance budgets with few layoffs.” That’s good news, right? Yes, some benefits get trimmed, but no layoffs. (That’s more than American Family Insurance can say, isn’t it?)

Property taxes across the state went DOWN for the first time in 12 years. That’s good news, isn’t it, Tom?

Don’t give me that blibber blabber about “corporate tax breaks.” The Republican budget provides only $218 million in tax breaks, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. That is 3% of the total budget. Only $58 million of that goes to corporations; the rest for health insurance breaks, exempting mobile homes from the sales tax, and dairy/livestock tax credits. (Sen. Ellis via Wheeler.)

Now Tom, come clean. What would YOU have done had you prevailed over Walker for governor in 2010?

Falk, friend of the spenders

“The Kathleen” Falk, at least, is consistent. We know that when the economy went south and Dane County’s sales tax and real estate tax revenues went south, as county executive she raised taxes by 8%.

We know also that on Jan. 6, 2011, with barely 48 hours notice to the County Board, she pushed through pay increases – increases! – for unionized county employees. She did so even though state employees were already on notice that they would take reductions.

Nor did she seek any employee contribution toward their generous pensions.

She did so even before the county knew what its state shared revenue would be but with the one certainty that the amount would decline. As a result she added $4.7 million in expenditures knowing that corresponding revenues would decline. I recounted that sad chapter here and here.

The corrupt bargain stuck her successor, Joe Parisi, with an untenable budget, one that he had to reopen a year later in order to get $1.9 million in employee concessions. (I recount that here.)

Get this, my port side friends. Not even Joe Parisi, a Democrat in the State Assembly during the Siege of the Capitol, wanted to raise taxes.

Kathleen Falk proved that when the economy was suffering, she passed the hurt on to the taxpayer. Of course, no mere economic recession could stop The Kathleen from continuing to buy up parkland (aka “green space” – often undevelopable wetlands) with reckless abandon.

With a 38-21 deficit to Barrett in the Marquette Law School poll and five days before the polls close on Tuesday, does The Kathleen (or her surrogates) have time to go mega-negative on Barrett’s accommodation to Walker’s Act 10?

Money, money, money

As Hubert Horatio Hornblower, um, Humphrey once said about the federal budget: a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking some real money. $13 million in Scott Walker’s re-re-election campaign account? Wow! That’s more than six times his four Democrat(ic) challengers combined. Before our port side friends ramble on about Daddy Warbucks IV and his club friends, let’s parse the numbers.

• True, 64% of Walker’s contributions came from outside the state. But $4.4 million came from Wisconsin. That’s double his four challengers’ take, combined.

• 33% of Walker’s $13,164,310 are donations of $100 or less. That works out to $4.4 million – again double the four Dems’ take.

• 31% of “The Kathleen” Falk’s $977,060 came in lumps of $10,000 or more; 28% of Walker’s bootie was that big.

• The Democrats, particularly through “Wisconsin for Falk,” benefit from over $7 million spent independently (insert snotty quotation marks) by Big Labor, Media Trackers reports. Just to get the recall going, unions and other progressive groups reported combined total spending of $14.7 million.

The Democrats picked this recall. They can’t cry that the incumbent has decided to fight back.

Today’s Intemperate Tirade

… is dedicated to the late, great Sam Kinison, may he rest in … well, not peace, exactly. Sam would riff on those “We Are the World” concerts for starving people in Africa, then go into paroxysms of screaming indignation. “Do you see where they’re living. They’re living IN A DESERT! THERE IS NO FOOD IN THE DESERT! MOVE TO WHERE THERE IS FOOD!”

I like to think that once Republicans take over Washington, D.C., they’ll put out a stamp for old Sam. Now, on to today’s rant.

Is affirmative action completely dead or is it walking LIKE A MURDEROUS ZOMBIE? Ann of Althouse asks: “Does anyone think it's acceptable to check the ‘Native American’ box on an job/admissions application based on one distant ancestor? Affirmative action isn't about genetics!” That would be Elizabeth Warren, putative protector of the consumer, now candidate for higher office. One/32nd or something Native American, maybe.

A deliciously malicious op-ed column in the Boston Herald skewers Warren, once the Left’s choice for protectoress of the downtrodden consumer, now running against Scott Brown for “Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat.”

“We all know about undocumented workers. Now we have Elizabeth Warren, the undocumented Indian,” writes the Herald’s Howie Carr.

“Once she’d parlayed the racial-spoils racket all the way to a tenured position at Harvard Law, she decided to pass, as they used to say in the old South. Once she’d reached the pinnacle of her trade, she ditched the fake-Indian routine. Maybe White Eyes Warren saw the smoke signals and figured out that someone was going to call her out on her ancestry.”

Perhaps Ms. Warren’s ancestor was a member of the Hekawi tribe. Remember that tribe that was always lost on TV’s F-Troop. The chief would ask, “Where the Hekawi?”

Tune in your crystal sets

Hey kids! Listen as your indefatigable blogger smacks down his helpless liberal sparring partner this Friday, May 4 (a day that will LIVE … in infamy!) on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Week in Review program from 8 to 9 a.m. Hosted by the lovely Joy Cardin.

Sign up for the free In Business Wisconsin Report – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click here.

Keep current with Blaska's other thoughts in the printed pages of In Business magazine. To subscribe to Dane County's premier monthly business magazine, click here.