Last week, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker proposed a series of devastating cuts that unfairly target the most vulnerable in Milwaukee County. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Walker’s budget would cut $2.4 million from programs for the elderly and disabled. Walker’s budget would totally eliminate the Youth Sports Authority program, aimed at helping at-risk teenagers stay out of trouble, and a short-term disability aid program.
Perhaps worst of all is Walker’s proposed cuts of $1 million to county support for homeless shelters. While Walker was riding a motorcycle across the state campaigning for Governor on the Milwaukee County taxpayer’s dime in June, the foreclosure rate in Milwaukee County jumped by 21%. More than 26% of all foreclosures in Wisconsin occurred in Milwaukee County in June, meaning Walker’s heartless cuts to homeless shelters couldn’t come at a worse time for the people of Milwaukee County.
The editorial board at the Journal Sentinel has it right: ‘’¦the bottom line should be that the county’s difficulties should not be borne solely on the backs of the county’s neediest people.’
Contrast that with Governor Doyle.
Yesterday, Governor Doyle pumped more than $6.3 million into programs across the state that help the homeless in Wisconsin., including over $4 million to Emergency Shelter/Transitional Housing grant programs specifically targeted at foreclosure rescue assistance. The money goes to urban and rural programs, sexual abuse shelters, homeless veterans services and many more. Programs like these help maintain a minimum social safety net ensuring that people who lose their job, lose their home, or need our help don’t fall through the cracks during these tough times. Governor Doyle, like Scott Walker, had to deal with a historic budget deficit. But Scott Walker, unlike Governor Doyle, went after the most vulnerable of citizens he is supposed to work to protect.
Doyle steps up for the most vulnerable in Wisconsin. Walker’s Way? Scorched earth policy for those most in need.
The poem at the Statue of Liberty says ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses’¦Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,’ right? I guess in Milwaukee County, liberty has a different meaning.