A story in the New York Times this morning about states considering closing sales tax exemptions in order to fund essential services reminded me once again about how “leadership” in Wisconsin have continually refused to make the hard choices needed and have boasted about cutting services when they should be fighting to fund them.
Madison area state officials Mark Pocan and Jon Erpenbach have spoken in favor similar proposals (for Pocan see here, for Erpenbach see here), but despite a Democrat majority they have not even attempted to move them forward. I repeat, have not even attempted; It would be one thing if they tried and failed, but they don’t try or if they do behind closed doors they give up mighty easy.
When pushed they always have a reason why now is not the time to do the right thing. As Pocan’s reaction in this recent Isthmus story shows, they get somewhat annoyed when their constituents aren’t happy with their inaction. There is a reason I put “leader” in quotes.
If by some chance Pocan and others want to take their heads out of the sand and see the harm their inaction is doing, I’d start with the Monday’s Madison School budget hearing (video here). Next, take a look at this week’s school layoffs and more in this post.
In the unlikely instance that this makes them actually want to do something positive, the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future/Wisconsin Council on Children and Families Catalog of Tax Reform Options for Wisconsin is full of promising ideas.
For the immediate crisis in school funding, Penny for Kids is the best idea out there.
One answer for failed elected “leadership” is continued pressure to try to get them to actually lead; another is to elect different people. We’ve been putting on the pressure for a long time.
Thomas J. Mertz