Budget bill has a poison pill that unions have ignored
By Jack E. Lohman
Like, how about giving the governor the authority to sell off state assets (power plants), without bids, at any price they choose, even for pennies on the dollar, to private interests, even to those that fund Walker’s campaign???
As in Senate Bill 11:
16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b). (see page 24)
So a no-bid contract to sell off the state power plants to the (4th highest Walker contributor) oil-tycoon Koch Brothers (see also here) will very likely occur, and consumer energy rates and corporate product prices will increase.
There is no other reasonable scenario. The taxpayers have no say in it, and the unions don’t yet realize that this isn’t an issue about worker rights.
Remember when Walker also wanted to sell off the Milwaukee airport when he was county executive. Note that private contractors can give campaign contributions and public entities can’t, so there is great political incentive to sell government assets to private investors. And unfortunately, feed them thereafter, even while they overcharge the taxpayers.
*IF* we had public funding of campaigns, and these things occurred without political bribes changing hands, I’d feel more secure with their decisions.
And the Zoo Interchange?
Give me a break.
I drove through at 5pm on Monday. A real hassle. Southbound was backed up to Capital. But guess what? Traffic was also at a standstill south of the Zoo, indicating one thing (and only one thing): Heavy traffic causes backups!!!
Then I headed into Milwaukee, only to find the traffic backed up to 35th Street.
Conclusion? No amount of rebuilding the Marquette Interchange relieved the backup during rush hour!!! Nor will it at the Zoo!!!
As well, it seems to this novice that high-rise interchanges are more likely to bring the kind of catastrophic collapses as occurred in Minneapolis. The short-span Zoo could use some repaving but not rebuilding.
So let me see. Instead of the taxpayers funding his $9 million campaign, we get to instead fund the $2 billion Zoo rebuild? And Walker turns a blind eye to the $35/hr skiploader drivers that are unionized and under road builder contract?
Will we ever learn?
Probably not. Walker got $146,000 in campaign contributions from the road builders, thus the Zoo and the $25 million rebuilding of the Oconomowoc Interchange will likely go forward, needed or not.
Importantly, none of these wasteful decisions would likely have been made had campaign contributions not changed hands, and had we earlier implemented public funding of campaigns. Neither would any of the other stupid spending decisions have occurred to cause Walker’s so-called budget problems.