Editor’s note: President-elect Barack Obama has asked state and local governments to make requests for key infrastructure projects that could receive federal funding as part of his economic stimulus plan. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, both Democrats have provided their "wish lists" to the Obama administration. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said he will not seek funding for projects in Milwaukee County. County Supervisor Lee Holloway, chairman of the county board, wrote the following letter about the subject to Walker Wednesday.
Subject: Federal stimulus request necessary for Milwaukee County
You are out there all alone on this issue. Many other Republicans and Democrats across Wisconsin are submitting requests for the upcoming federal stimulus package. Do you actually want 71 other counties in Wisconsin and 49 other states to enjoy stimulus funds that are going to be spent whether you are included or not? Based on your comments that I have observed from multiple media outlets, you apparently believe the following:
- We have an unemployment rate that is among the highest in the Nation, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- For nearly seven years, your strategy involves shrinking Milwaukee County government to the point where it nearly kills almost every public service from Transit to Parks, from Justice to Public Safety, and from Economic Support to Human Service, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- You presented seven consecutive budgets that defer maintenance in excess of a half billion dollars for the preservation of taxpayer assets, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- Stimulus money benefits the economy by putting people to work and purchasing goods and services, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- You have managed to run two countywide deficits as well as multiple deficits in nearly every major department over the last six years, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- Highly educated and experienced economists seem to agree that the President-Elect’s plan is necessary to stimulate the economy, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- The plan that comes out of Washington will be a set dollar amount whether Milwaukee County is involved or not, so whatever we don’t get will go to other communities, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- The parks that were built during the last major depression are some of our most beloved assets and are in need of repair, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- Our mental health facility is in serious need of replacement to better serve some of our most vulnerable citizens, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- Thousands of our citizens are in need of health care, but we don’t need any stimulus money.
- In your mind, the 2010 election season is upon us, and, because Governor Jim Doyle is working to secure federal stimulus funds, you oppose seeking stimulus money.
An effective Milwaukee County executive should actively seek outside funding to reduce the burden on local property tax payers. Shouldn’t the dollars we send to Washington be returned to our county? A competent Milwaukee County executive should recognize the importance of creating jobs and bringing lasting value to County residents.