City of Madison

Former City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Blog

Redistribution of Wealth

December 14, 2010 10:21 AM

During the high speed rail debate I pointed out in one of my blogs that Wisconsinites historically get back only about 70 cents for every dollar we send to Washington in our federal taxes. I thought it was another good argument to keep the $810 million in high speed rail money right here.

The La Crosse Tribune agrees. The paper, which endorsed Scott Walker for governor, wrote a great editorial about his decision to give the money back to Washington so that they can redistribute it to California, Florida, Illinois and other states.

Without further comment, here's the Tribune's editorial from yesterday:

Walker wrong to turn back train

Scott Walker isn't even governor yet, and he has lost an $810 million game of chicken with our money. He has undoubtedly lost jobs and certainly will lose the company that moved to Wisconsin to help build trains for high-speed rail.

And, he's declaring victory.

He's off the rails before the train even left the station.

He told us that he didn't want to contribute to runaway federal spending. He didn't want to invest in high-speed rail. Instead, he wanted to use the federal money to improve Wisconsin's roads.

That was a wonderful theory - but the federal government repeatedly told him that the money would go for high-speed rail projects.

And, the feds told Walker that if Wisconsin wasn't interested, other states would get our money.

California, here it comes. Yes, you're the big winner
of $624 million, courtesy of your friends in Wisconsin. Florida, you're getting $342.2 million of our money. Washington, here's to you - $161.5 million from the Badger State. Even you, Illinois, our cursed neighbors to the south: You're getting $42.3 million from Wisconsin.

Scott Walker is thoroughly pleased to hand you this money, courtesy of the taxpayers of Wisconsin.
Walker wouldn't listen to the feds. He wouldn't listen to business leaders. He wouldn't listen to transportation experts. He didn't even have the courtesy to respond to repeated efforts by Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz to discuss the matter because, of course, Cieslewicz is a Democrat and mayor of the state's capitol and second-largest city. Why bother.

When Walker promised during his campaign to create 250,000 jobs, we absurdly assumed that he meant to create them in Wisconsin. We
didn't realize he would provide such an economic boost for other states.

Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, calls the affair "simply ridiculous."

"Gov.-elect Walker hasn't even been sworn in yet, and he's already cost our state thousands of jobs.

His hard-line stance has sent a clear message that Wisconsin is not open for business when it comes to manufacturing and transportation development," Shilling said.

For the third time, we will share this sentence from the Tribune's endorsement of Walker for governor: "We think Walker is absolutely wrong about high-speed rail … and he needs to understand that he'll be the governor of the entire state, not just Milwaukee County."

He has stubbornly handed over $810 million of our money to other states - and we won't even get a cigar or a bottle of cabernet from the governator in California.

And, don't kid yourself: It's not just $810 million from the feds. You can bet some of that money was contributed by the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin.

And our money has just gone down the Scott Walker rathole.

He hasn't just thumbed his nose at high-speed rail. He has thumbed his nose at western Wisconsin.

Now that he has his votes from our side of the state, he couldn't give a damn about us.

Gov.-elect Walker, we still think you're absolutely wrong.

But, if you insist on handing over our money even before you've taken office, we have a suggestion.

In the spirit of your philosophy about government, why don't you suggest that Wisconsin taxpayers who have too much money in their pocket cut out the middle man in Madison and just write a check to the good people of the Golden State.

If you're really that stupid, you can mail your non-deductible, unappreciated check to: Wisconsin's New Governor Is Off the Rails Fund, c/o State of California Franchise Tax Board, P.O. Box 942840, Sacramento, CA 94240-0002.


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