Two posts about Gov. Walker this week, one on how he’s come to propose a budget with so many education cuts, and the other on his considerable fundraising potential as a national candidate, are especially informative.
Over at Urban Milwaukee, Bruce Murphy write about Waker’s budget proposal, in Why Walker Had to Cut UW Funding: His presidential ambitions left him with no other option.
Murphy contends that, owing significantly to a prior tax cut, and rejection of Medicaid funding, it should be clear now that
[I]n retrospect, Walker must have been very worried about getting reelected, so worried that he was willing to give himself a huge budget problem in his second term. Just as his naysayers predicted, and as Fiscal Bureau figures suggested was inevitable, Walker has been forced to slash state spending, and has stirred up a hornet’s nest of opposition from defenders of the state’s universities.
Walker has proposed a $300 million or 13 percent cut in state funding for the UW System, the largest such cut in history. He’s also proposed cutting state aid to the K-12 schools by $127 million, cutting Senior Care by $15 million (though the full impact of that cut could be $100 million), cutting 66 positions from the state Department of Natural Resources and using a new funding formula for state voc tech colleges that could cut their funding. Walker has also proposed the state borrow $1.3 billion to finance the transportation fund, which means an unprecedented 23 percent of taxes for roads will pay interest on bonds by 2016….
Murphy’s analysis won’t please Walker supporters, but it does explain how a politician who’s been shrewd (winning three statewide races in four years) finds himself with, of all things, a local education fight on his hands.
(If Gov. Walker had rejected so much roadbuilding, and taken $500 million in Medicaid funding, Murphy observes that “he could have made the second tax cut to help assure his reelection and would still have had $500 million more to play with, making the UW budget cut unnecessary while even leaving room to avoid cutting K-12 funding or reduce the amount of borrowing for the transportation fund.”)
What, though, of Gov. Walker’s national ambitions? At the Upshot Blog of the New York Times, Derek Willis contends that To Understand Scott Walker’s Strength, Look at His Donors:
The best way to see the threat that Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, poses to Jeb Bush in the Republican presidential race is to look at Mr. Walker’s donors.
They extend far beyond Wisconsin, in large part because of the 2012 recall election that made Mr. Walker a nationwide conservative hero. Many of Mr. Walker’s biggest donors are deeply conservative, giving him an opportunity to emerge as an alternative to the more moderate Mr. Bush. They also include many small-money donors, a group that many national Republicans have struggled to attract….
Murphy’s and Willis’s posts are well-worth reading, in full.