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Plain Talk: Take a good look at the hypocrites in the state Capitol

Plain Talk: Take a good look at the hypocrites in the state Capitol

CAPITOL (copy)

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, District 13, in the Senate Chambers at the State Capitol.

These Republicans who run the state Legislature truly are pieces of work.

There was the Senate's majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald — fresh from making sure Gov. Tony Evers' choice for agriculture secretary was out of a job — answering questions Tuesday about why the Senate didn't have time before adjourning for the year to deal with a package of bills to attack the homelessness problem in the state. His explanation was enough to make a normal person sick.

The seven bills, which passed the Assembly on a bipartisan vote earlier this fall, would provide about $4 million to homelessness programs and shelters that are trying to deal with a growing problem in many of the state's larger cities. Their importance was underscored by an excellent series on the problem by the Wisconsin State Journal only a few weeks ago. Several of the people interviewed for that series expressed the importance of the pending legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, tried to get Fitzgerald and his fellow Republicans to consider at least one of the bills that would provide $500,000 to help supplement the operating budgets of homeless shelters.

No dice, Fitzgerald declared as winter storm advisories were being broadcast by weather forecasters around the state. There are an estimated 5,000 homeless people living in Wisconsin, half of whom are kids.

Sounds like a lot of money, the majority leader who now wants to be a congressman, deadpanned. We'll have to study it further, he declared — maybe we'll vote in the spring.

This from the same guy who has overseen the spending of $3.5 million to fight for the Republicans' right to gerrymander legislative districts, not to mention the $250 million in "manufacturing and agriculture" tax credits handed to roughly 10,000 recipients each year, 15 of whom had annual incomes of more than $30 million. Or how about that money for Kimberly-Clark and Foxconn? None of that sounded like a lot of money?

But, those folks have money to lavish on friendly politicians and especially those who aspire for higher office, like Fitzgerald does.

Those homeless people don't make many campaign contributions, so they and those who happen to have children can figure out how to get shelter during winter — which, unfortunately, has already arrived.

These are the kind of hypocrites that Wisconsin voters have sent to Madison in recent years.

Should we maybe take a closer look at their values? Or, don't we care, either?

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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