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Gov. Scott Walker, power plants, and a fake budget 'crisis'

March 4, 2011 - Mike Maneval
The assault on public-sector earnings in Wisconsin continues to be portrayed by right-wing pundits as a necessity due to the state's "bankruptcy." Officials have to require that prison guards and teachers spend the money they would otherwise spend in the private sector's stores and restaurants on health care and retirement plans, the argument goes, because the state simply doesn't have the revenues to fulfill the obligations to which it had agreed in past contracts.

However, Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan, as detailed by financial analyst, blogger and fellow at the Roosevelt Institute Mike Konczal, also allows the state to sell power plants at public institutions, including colleges, without a bidding process. If Wisconsin was truly in such dire financial straits, shouldn't the state seek to maximize the price for these facilities owned by all the state's taxpayers - including the maligned teachers and prison guards? Instead, Walker's proposal specifically allows for the plants to be sold without verifying there are no better offers.

As I detailed about a week and a half ago, Wisconsin's budget "crisis" has proven no obstacle to corporate welfare. It apparently is no obstacle to sweetheart deals for the well-connected, either. And frankly, a budget "crisis" that permits sweetheart deals and corporate welfare is no "crisis" at all.


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