Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, December 09, 2005

There Oughtta Amendment?

Wisconsin is marginally a progressive state, but it may surprise outsiders to know that the legislature is Republican, they being obviously better at the gerrymandering game. My little neck of the "woods" is Walworth County. This combination of rich farms, lake houses and exurban commuters is very red indeed.

Our Governor Doyle is a Democrat, but my state senator, Neal Kedzie, is among the rightest of the rightists in Mad City. And it was while on my way to Mad City yesterday―that blue area where they keep the real surgeons―when I heard our local hero at the guest mike on WPR. Kedzie is so appalled at the violation of trust inherent in the Governor's appropriation of fuel tax dollars to fund education that he has introduced an amendment to the constitution prohibiting such shenanigans.

The impermanence of a law won't do, and as the storm clouds gather for the GOP I concede that point. The argument for this latest foray is that citizens have a contract with the state, that as we fork out that tax on gasoline it will be spent on better, safer roads. Right. There we are standing at the pump thinking about funding quarantines. There we are thinking about gasoline tax at all. Who besides politicians and special interest groups have a clue where the money goes and what it's specifically spent on?

This is not to say that we don't know how how the money is spent―that we don't notice the quality of services provided. We just don't care nearly as much about the nuts and bolts of State finance as Senator Kedzie would purport to believe of us. No, the purpose of this amendment is a Republican stab at a remedy for a wrong they feel has been perpetrated on them by Governor Doyle. Doyle raided the road funds to make a point. He will not stand for conservatives short-sightedly going after our great state universities while they send their own kids to Notre Dame, Marquette and Princeton.

Why is Kedzie leading the counter attack? Well, he's a big, big believer in roads, and this amendment would serve the road building industry to no end, which is precisely the course they believe road building should follow. He bragged yesterday about the wonderful new bypass around the mighty metropolis of Whitewater, right here in Kedzieland. I took it on the way home yesterday, very nice. And it ought to be, as it takes the grand prize for the biggest percentage cost overrun in the state over the last 15 years, a cool 359%. And for that they couldn't even afford a stop light at the eastern end of it. Kedzie glowed at the enhanced safety such projects bring us. Within four weeks there were two fatalities, one at the aforementioned intersection. I knew it was dangerous, and I would have been happy to take the original, non-inflated consultant fee.

I yield to our senator's judgment, as from the chart below one can clearly see that he knows a lot about roadbuilding:

This chart is what guidance counselors should be showing high school seniors when it comes time to consider their future, but that's another point.

Dare we get more specific...why not?

Who are the top contributors to Senator Kedzie?
1/1/96 - 12/31/02

Mann, oh Mann, here we go again. Of course, now that the Manns are personae non gratae, these donations have ceased. This will allow Robert Mann, who will apparently have his day in court with our Republican DA some time after we are all to old to remember any of this, to keep more of the billings coming in from the newly completed, you guessed it, Whitewater bypass.

Now, I'm not suggesting quid pro quo here.(poltalk for you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours) That would be libelous or something. Jobs are good, especially union jobs. I'm sure Kedzie will point to them, and it's very comforting to know that union operators are making $40.00 an hour or whatever on the other side of town. Teaching jobs are good, too, yet Republican education "reformers" persistently hold education unions as the enemy of the people. That would be them at the bottom of the above chart.

I'm just saying, Senator Kedzie, that some of us in your well-paved fiefdom know darn well which side your bread is buttered on, so don't came on my radio and tell me what I'm thinking at the gas pump. I don't care which fund does whatever. I want good roads and I want people in this state smart enough to know that required stop lights are not the place to keep overruns down from 375% to 350%.

That is, if you think you can diversify your interests.


At 9:58 AM, Blogger Bullock said...

It is always about the money. Follow the money and you will see where your elected official's heart lies.This mutation of capitalism vis a vis lawmaking continues to pervade, pervert and steer our country's policy making at every political level.
I don't get it and I never will.


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