Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Just a county budget from Transylvania

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This week for the MacIver Institute I offered some Halloween costume advice to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

A rather scary assemblage of every special interest in Milwaukee will gather on Halloween for a public hearing on the County budget. They will be the usual assortment of government employees and beneficiaries of public largesse. What will be interesting to watch will be their reaction to the county budget that’s taking shape.

It will be the first budget since Scott Walker was elected governor. Already some of the reviews are in and we’re learning that there is nothing new under the sun. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele should show up at the public hearing in a costume from the Rocky Horror Picture Show singing, “Time Warp.”

“It’s just a jump to the left.”

“And then a step to the right…”

Abele, despite his liberal background, his close ties with city of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and his criticisms of Walker’s reforms at the state level, started the budget the Walker way. He proposed no increase in the county tax levy, despite a $55 million budget gap.

The challenge, then, is to figure out where the budget could be cut without increasing taxes. Not surprisingly, Abele looked to the places where Walker had to look when he was county executive.

The first time I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show I was in Israel. Talk about strange.

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