Let the record reflect that Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is singing the praises of the jobs being created in Milwaukee County as a result of President Barack Obama’s federal stimulus package.
BizTimes.com recently ran a Milwaukee Biz Blog by Scott Walker touting all of the new projects approved in the 2010 County Budget for Capital Improvements. Walker is calling it the “Milwaukee County Works” program. In reality, all of this new spending is due to favorable interest rates made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the federal stimulus program.
To take advantage of these lower interest rates, Scott Walker proposed to budget for three years worth of capital spending all in the 2010 budget. The County Board agreed with this approach to stimulate our local economy, and these projects will be completed over the next three years. For example, the projects in my district include new playground equipment at McCarty Park along with athletic fields and tennis court restorations at Zablocki Park. We are also using stimulus funds for some larger projects, including purchasing new buses, rebuilding area roadways, upgrading General Mitchell International Airport, and completing energy-efficient upgrades in County-owned buildings.
That’s why it’s preposterous for the County Executive to re-brand the stimulus project as his own “Milwaukee County Works.” In fact, Walker even went on write, “This sounds like a financially sound way to truly ‘stimulate’ the economy.”
Well, I agree, but this comes despite all of County Executive Walker’s previous statements regarding stimulus:
- “Federal money nearly always comes with strings attached. ‘Free money’ sounds nice, but what happens when state and local governments cannot afford the match? A real economic stimulus would put money in the hands of consumers – and not the government.” – Scott Walker, BizTimes BizBlog, January 9, 2009
- “This hardly sounds like free money to me.” – Scott Walker, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 9, 2009
- “I’m not asking for any new project or things to be done here.” – Scott Walker, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 6, 2009
No matter what he might call it, the record should reflect that these opportunities were made available by the federal stimulus plan. The County Board had to fight long and hard to bypass the County Executive and ensure we could apply for as many stimulus projects as possible. The County Executive opposed these efforts at every turn, and even directed his staff to not directly participate as Task Force members.
Now that real jobs are indeed being created, the County Executive is trying to mislead the public into thinking that he developed this federal initiative. The record should reflect that the County Board was the driving force behind the use of stimulus tools within Milwaukee County, and the County Executive is piggy-backing off of that success as he runs for Governor.
Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan, Jr. represents the 16th District, which includes parts of West Allis, Milwaukee and Greenfield.