Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Walker’s plan worth backing

Gov. Scott Walker released a $100 million initiative to revitalize Milwaukee’s troubled economy. As of February, Milwaukee has a 10.5 percent rate of unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is in need of efforts to get its economy back
on track. This is a noble effort to get the state back to work and revitalize a major urban area which has
seen its share of troubles over recent years. Walker’s history with the city, however, is not as admirable.
Walker’s term as county executive was one of cutting jobs and privatizing the public sector. Walker’s
history dilutes the purity of his current efforts; nonetheless, the project is one deserving of praise.

Milwaukee, like many other American cities, is badly in need of capital injection into its economy. As shown by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in Milwaukee is roughly 40 percent higher than the state of Wisconsin’s 7.5 percent unemployment rate and more than double the unemployment rate in Madison. At the height of
the recession, the unemployment rate in Milwaukee was as high as 13.1 percent. Milwaukee is in desperate need of jobs.
Injecting money into the economy is one of the best ways to combat high unemployment.

The money will be used in part to improve the crumbling infrastructure of the city. This is exactly where the money should be going. The city needs new roads and needs something to be done with
vacant properties. This initiative could put people to work while improving the quality of the being in the


Perhaps a revitalization of Milwaukee will bring down the crime rate. Crime is a major problem in the
city. Neighborhood Scout notes that the violent crime rate in Milwaukee is four times higher than Wisconsin as a whole. The property
crime rate is twice as high in Milwaukee as it is in the state as a whole, and the crime rate per square
mile is a staggering 38 times higher in Milwaukee than it is in the state as a whole. It is projected that
the violent crime rate will rise this year. Getting the city back to work will combat crime. This is a big
problem that hopefully revitalization will address.

The plan focuses on attracting industry and manufacturing jobs, which is again just what the city needs.
All urban areas in this region of the country have been hit hard as the manufacturing base in the United States has
slowly evaporated. Attempts to attract manufacturing will serve the working class of the city, who are just the
people who need this.

Gubernatorial candidate and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement Monday that
Walker has been working against Milwaukee’s best interest for the past eight years, and he does have
a point. Walker came under fire when, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it became well known that he fired 26 security guards at the
Milwaukee courthouse only to privatize security in the name of saving money. Ultimately, the move was
more costly than keeping the security guards, and the city had to return the jobs to most laid off security
guards. Walker ran a $7 million deficit in 2010 for the city, according to Milwaukee County First. Walker’s history with the city is not stainless.

Those who read my columns regularly might suspect it is not typical of me to so animatedly endorse
a plan set forth by this gubernatorial administration. However, I feel this plan is nearly perfect. While
Walker’s history with the city is cloudy, and some speculate this move is purely a reelection tactic, I feel
this plan should be backed with bipartisan support. At the very least, this is a step in the right direction
for a city that needs hope, and I feel that is something we should all get behind.

Spencer Lindsay ([email protected]) freshman majoring in political science.

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