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Friday, February 17, 2012

Griper Blade: With Foreclosure Settlement, Scott Walker Ignores the Lessons of History

Foreclosed home
Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a smart editorial on Gov. Scott Walker's suddenly unbalanced budget. It requires a little background, but I think I can catch you up to speed pretty quickly.

In 2001, then-Gov. Tommy Thompson was picked by the Bush administration to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Wisconsin governors are elected on presidential off-years, which meant that Lt. Gov. Scott McCallum would serve the rest of Thompson's term. This did not go well. It was a period marked mostly by short-sightedness and poor decision-making, which included this:

In July 2002, then-Gov. Scott McCallum signed a budget-repair bill into law that used $825 million in settlement money from the big tobacco companies to balance a gaping hole in the state budget. That was on top of another $450 million in tobacco money used for the same purpose the summer before.

McCallum and the Legislature balanced the budget all right -- for a few months -- but at a high cost to good government.

"Dumb and dumber," we wrote at the time. "Think about winning the lottery and spending every nickel in the first year."...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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