Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants the country to know he is a tough guy, willing to take on a fight. This time, the Republican governor famous for gutting the state’s public sector unions has decided to pick on another public entity: the University of Wisconsin.
Walker’s recently proposed budget would cut $300 million from the school’s budget, if passed. The governor claims that the cuts would free the University from the “burden of government” so that it can run itself more efficiently. University officials strongly disagree with him, and have been very vocal about it. In fact, the University suggested to the government a $95 million increase in its state funding, causing one to ask how Walker’s interpretation adds up.
Democrats in Wisconsin are calling the budget a ploy for his likely presidential race, not a proposal that would actually be good for the state. It includes other conservative policy priorities, such as drug testing recipients of state assistance, expanded K-12 voucher systems, and cutting funding for public broadcasting. Students, alumni, and administrators have also called out Walker on his presidential aspirations, and view the budget as a way for him to show his ultra-conservative supporters he is willing to fight back against “excessive government.”
Too bad Walker’s budget actually has nothing to do with government overreach, and everything to do with playing politics with those who can least afford it.