By LaKeshia N. Myers
When faced with necessary encounters, war must always be considered a viable option to challenge one’s enemy. While I believe it shouldn’t be used as a first level defense, it should be viewed as a strategic option in one’s arsenal. Last week, while debating the Republican version of the state budget, it was evident that the “war” between Milwaukee County and legislative Republicans has escalated to a new level.
It is no secret that the Republican majority despises and seeks to neutralize Milwaukee (both the city and county) by draining it of its economic resources; slowly bleeding it through a consistent decrease in shared revenue and restricting capital projects. In the most recent version of the budget, Milwaukee County lost millions in funding to its transit budget. This is most important for individuals who do not have access to a car to get to jobs in outlying suburbs. Republicans also cost our state $1.6 billion by rejecting BadgerCare expansion and gambling an additional $1.5 billion for our schools by failing to maintain the state’s investment in public schools. This means schools will become more reliant on the one-time funding designated for COVID-19 relief.
All of the cuts heaped upon Milwaukee and Madison have been framed as “property tax relief” by Republicans—what they fail to tell you is that taxpayers will eventually fill in the holes at the county and school board level, because more and more communities will opt to have referendum votes to fill in where the state legislature created deficits.
Milwaukee and Madison need to realize, we are at war – fighting a common enemy, an enemy from within. A group that chooses party over actual people (even at the expense of their own voters). A party that willingly chooses divisiveness, fiscal ineptitude and nuanced dog-whistles to maintain control. They refuse to understand or adhere to the “we’re in this together” mantra of yesteryear. Opting instead for venom-filled doubletalk that pits Wisconsinites against each other and thrives off fallacy, fantasy and misinformation.
The need to neutralize urban communities, access to K-12 and higher education, and rebuke regional transit and expansion, shows a lack of imagination, focus and understanding that Wisconsin is slowly becoming an island devoid of progress. It is my hope that the governor uses his veto pen swiftly and liberally, and that the people of Wisconsin remain awake and vote in their best interests accordingly.