Monday, January 8, 2018

Scared Walker vetoes his own veto, this time on funding rural schools

A few days after our Fair Governor drastically reversed course and said the Lincoln Hills juvenile facility should be closed, Gov “Unintimidated” pulled another 180 today, this time on school funding.
Governor Scott Walker will visit Coleman High School in Coleman today to announce his support for legislation authored by Representative John Nygren (R—Marinette) that will provide additional Sparsity Aid and a Low Revenue Ceiling increase for rural schools. The increased aid for rural schools is in addition to the historic $11.5 billion investment in K-12 funding, increased support for High-Cost Transportation Aid in rural areas, new support for mental health services and expanded efforts to provide broadband access statewide included in the state budget….

Representative Nygren is authoring legislation that increases Sparsity Aid by $6.4 million for the 2018-19 school year. The bill provides an increase from $300 per pupil to $400 per pupil for districts that currently qualify for Sparsity Aid. Additionally, the bill includes an increase to the Low Revenue Ceiling from $9,100 to $9,400 for the 2018-19 school year, with the Low Revenue Ceiling rising by $100 per year thereafter up to $9,800 by the 2022-23 school year. In order to ensure accountability to local voters, districts where a referendum to raise the revenue limit was rejected by the voters within the past three years would not be allowed to raise their revenue limit.

The Sparsity Aid Program aims to offset the challenges faced by low-population school districts through providing $300 in per-pupil funding for school districts with 745 students or less and a population density of less than 10 students per square mile.
Good ideas in general, and Walker had previously asked for an increase in sparsity aid, but GOP legislators didn’t go along for it during the budget process.

However, Walker calling for an increase of the Low Revenue Ceiling is eye-rolling. The reason why is that 3 1/2 months ago, Scotty said we didn’t need to raise that cap, as he vetoed a provision in the state budget that would have allowed the low revenue limits to go up.
I am vetoing this section entirely because the result is a substantial increase in property tax capacity that school districts may exercise without voter input. In several school districts that would be eligible to raise taxes under these sections, referenda to exceed revenue limits already failed within the past two years. An increase in revenue authority from the state in these districts would circumvent purposeful, local actions.

It should also be noted that in some cases, the same districts that would have become eligible to increase their revenues with this adjustment have increased their base revenues at a rate higher than the state average. This brings into question the need for this adjustment and highlights the need for local taxpayer input before a revenue limit adjustment is made.

As a result of this veto, the low revenue adjustment level for school districts will remain at $9,100. School districts across the state will benefit from other significant education investments in this budget, including meaningful increases in per pupil aid. These per pupil increases are equal among all school districts. Additionally, school districts could pursue an increase in their revenue limit through a referendum as is the case under current law. In fact, numerous districts have already done so by asking taxpayers through a referendum. Increases to the low revenue adjustment can be discussed in future state budgets.
Now I suppose Walker could weasel his way through it by saying “we aren’t allowing districts that turned down a referendum to raise taxes.” But if you look at that veto statement, Walker wasn’t planning on revisiting this issue before the 2018 elections, instead choosing to have a talking point of low property taxes” over having functional schools.

So why the change? Likely for the same reason that Scotty all of a sudden decided to deal with the Lincoln Hills issue. BAD POLL NUMBERS. Voters recognize that Walker has done little to solve the many problems that exist in this state (and caused quite a few of them), and now he’s desperately trying to make himself be seen as someone who cares.

But Scotty is incapable of shedding his partisan, social-climbing nature even if he ends up doing the right thing. Check out this whiny statement from Friday after state Dems rightfully asked why Walker hadn’t taken action on Lincoln Hills for years as the scandals at the youth prison grew.
"For months these people were saying, ‘Do this, do this, do this.’ We’re doing essentially this, and now they’re saying, ‘Wait a minute. We didn’t mean that. We still want to be upset.’ These are people who if I said, ‘The sun was out,’ they’d say, ‘No, it’s not; it’s dark,’" Walker said.
No, you asshole. It’s because we see through your cynical games and know that you couldn’t give a fuck about Lincoln Hills or rural schools until those issues started damaging your poll numbers.

We also recognize that you’re simply copying ideas from others, but trying to claim that you came up with the idea in order to try to solve the problems YOU caused, and hoping the voters are too stupid to remember those facts. Which makes this the theme song of Walker’s 2018 campaign, as he tries to spin his way out of his failing record and the deteriorating state that are a result of his policies.

Expect more of these taxpayer-funded media events and shameless changes in course from Walker over the next 10 months, as he desperately tries to avoid having to get a real job for the first time in his adult life. And the hubris this cynical sleazebucket has in thinking he can slip more BS by people is one of the biggest reasons I despise Gov Dropout. But I guess grifters are gonna grift.

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