While Scott Walker was returning from his five day motorcycle jaunt around the state, it was being reported in the courthouse that the County is currently facing a $6.6 million deficit.
Walker was quick to blame the unions for not capitulating to his illegally crafted contract. What he failed to note is that he has had over 18 months to sit down with the unions and work out a contract with the unions, such as Mayor Tom Barrett did with the city unions.
It should be noted that there was a Tentative Agreement reached in the fall of 2009. The union ratified the agreement, but Walker and his allies on the County Board rejected it. They way they did it also constituted bad faith bargaining, which put it into the court systems, and probably won’t be resolved for months to come. Each day that the contract negotiations are being stalled is costing tax payers in lost revenue, more than enough to make up for the projected deficit, if that is even accurate.
Meanwhile, due to Walker’s arrogance and political posturing, Milwaukee County tax payers are losing millions of dollars in unrealized savings.
Unsurprisingly, Walker’s political aspirations is directly related to at least half the budget. The article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out that more than half of the budget deficit is coming from BHD:
The $6.6 million net shortfall estimate is based on a series of smaller predictions on spending by county departments. The county’s Behavioral Health Division is projecting the biggest departmental shortfall, some $3.4 million in red ink by year’s end. That number could grow because of expected reductions in state health care reimbursements, said LisaJo Marks, acting director of the county’s Health and Human Services Department.
Instead of simply admitting that there were problems at BHD, Walker chose to minimize the sexual assaults and other problems going on at the hospital and do nothing to correct them. We also already know that the BHD Director, John Chianelli, has problems with budgets when he came up with a “sudden” $3 million deficit at the very end of last year.
Perhaps instead of going on jaunts around the state, Walker would be better off staying in town for a while and actually doing the job he is getting paid to do. Otherwise, Milwaukee County tax payers will be paying for his arrogance for years to come, both with their taxes and with their safety.