Monday, June 13, 2011

Good question: Why has Governor Walker and the Republican legislature declared war on Wisconsin's cities?

A setback for anyone who has to stay here. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel op-ed piece by Steve Hinicker, 6/11/2011)

Excerpt:  To get those new leaders, we will need great universities. To keep those new leaders, we will need great places to live and work. Ideas can be assembled anywhere. The transformation of ideas into commerce needs cities. Cities are where ideas can be exchanged and capital can be raised. Great cities incubate ideas and turn them into jobs. Cities always have been and always will be the most fertile ground of ideas and jobs creation.

At one time, the location of a city defined the kinds of jobs that would be created. Minneapolis and St. Paul relied on grains from the west and became the home of food processing companies. Pittsburgh took iron ore off ships and became a steel city. New York is a port city and the world center of commerce. However, tomorrow's ideas can be cultivated in cities located almost anywhere.

To keep tomorrow's leaders and tomorrow's jobs in Wisconsin, we will need to invest in our cities.

So why has Walker and this Legislature declared war on our cities?

Rather than investing in cities, this administration has done everything it can to divest in cities. Virtually every program that benefits cities and the people that live there is cut.

State aids for local roads have been dramatically reduced. State aids for transit have been cut and tools that cities can use to grow transit such as regional transit authorities have been eliminated. Revenue sharing for communities has been cut. Aid for schools - arguably the most important asset of a community - has been slashed. The ability for cities to raise their own revenues to replace what the state has cut has been taken away.

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