By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Scott Walker delivered his eighth state-of-state address last week. And, believe me, it was a performance for the ages. According to numerous political pundits, Walker is now facing the most challenging reelection race of his 25- year political career; and he has come out swinging.
Flanked by a group of unsuspecting parents and children, the governor began to weave his web of half-truths and outright lies. In a sudden and desperate effort to curry favor with working voters, Walker hatch his latest reelection ploy: A $100 child tax credit.
In speaking for more than an hour, the governor called for the $122 million a year child tax credit that would paid to parents even if they have no state income liability. The credit would be paid for by using the state’s expected budget surplus, which was projected last month to come in $138 million better than previously expected.
Over the two-year budget, the tax credit as proposed would be paid out twice and cost about $244 million. Without the credit, that state is currently expected to end the current budget in June 2019 with $385 million in its main account. If the Republican-controlled Legislature approves the tax credit as proposed and other recent proposals by Walker, the state would be left with a budget cushion of less than $100 million – an amount that the state could easily exhaust in a matter of days.
The governor’s newfound sense of compassion didn’t end there. Walker has also proposed using $200 million in state and federal money to stabilize the state’s Obamacare insurance market and hold down rising insurance premiums. Walker, a frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act, now claims he is seeking state action because the Republican-controlled Congress has been unsuccessful in repealing the law. The governor’s sudden decision to stabilize Obamacare premiums in the state is also a contradiction. After all, his blatant refusal to accept federal funding for the Medicaid expansion, coupled with his unwillingness to establish a healthcare exchange have caused premium rates to spike.
Walker’s new bag of tricks also includes replacing the state’s troubled juvenile prison, Lincoln Hills School for boys, with five regional facilities that would be located closer to the teenage offenders’ home communities. The irony here is that Walker helped to exacerbate the problem. When Walker took office in January 2011, he moved quickly to close Ethan Allen and Southern Oaks, completely ignoring a task force recommendation that the juvenile facility transition required careful planning. And, to make matter worse, in his nearly eight years in office, Walker has never visited the troubled site to access the problem firsthand.
In addition, Walker is also proposing:
• Committing $50 million by June to expand existing state jobs programs in rural areas under a definition that would include 56 of the state’s 72 counties.
• Seeking permanent federal approval for the state’s SeniorCare prescription drug plan, which in the past Walker sought to scale back.
• Providing additional funding for low-pending school districts as well as districts in sparsely populated rural areas.
• Requiring able-bodied parents of children on food stamps to work or get training to receive more than three months benefits. This is a targeted population that Walker has repeatedly gone after and politically victimized.
Make no mistake about, Walker’s new change of heart can be attributed to one thing — and one thing only: His growing fear of difficult reelection campaign ahead. In a brazen attempt to suck up to hard-working Wisconsin families, Walker now proposes a measly $100 child tax credit, which is a complete insult. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Walker had no problem ponying up a staggering $4 billion in public money for Foxconn, a foreign technology conglomerate. With that being the case, Walker’s recent about-face should be seen for exactly what it is: A series of reelection ploys that are calculated to yield him a third-term in office.