MADISON: Today Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) announced his plan to introduce legislation to terminate state aid to cities with programs similar to Milwaukee’s Emerging Business Enterprise Program. Grothman’s bill is in response to a 12-26-08 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel titled “Police uniforms could come at premium” in which it is apparent the City of Milwaukee may spend $340,000 more than necessary to buy new police uniforms per Chapter 360 of the Milwaukee Code.
The Milwaukee Code appears to give preferences to people who have not finished high school, people who have no knowledge or skills necessary for employment and people who live outside of a traditional family structure. The above estimate does not include the additional cost to Milwaukee taxpayers to pay for staff to administer the unnecessary red tape required by the Enterprise Program.
“The breakdown of the traditional family is the cause of many of the City of Milwaukee’s ills. It seems bizarre that the City of Milwaukee is giving preference to people who ‘lack a traditional family structure,’” said Grothman. “Milwaukee should be encouraging people to finish high school but they are giving preference to people who fail to obtain a high school degree or its equivalent. It is also highly divisive to give preferences to people whose businesses are located in one part of the city and not other parts of the city. How can this type of mindset be helpful to the economy of our state’s largest city?”
“At a time when Wisconsin families are having to cut back their spending, the fact that the City of Milwaukee is spending 33-percent more on these uniforms than necessary shows the Milwaukee City Council has not gotten the message -- apparently, because financially-strapped taxpayers outstate keep bailing them out,” said Grothman.
As fiscal estimates show, Wisconsin’s taxpayers have been extremely generous in providing funding for SE Wisconsin, but they also want some common sense and accountability to accompany their dollars. The City of Milwaukee receives $407 per person in shared revenue compared to the statewide average of $106 per person not including Milwaukee.
Grothman also questioned the constitutionality of the Emerging Business Enterprise Program under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and asked Attorney General JB Van Hollen for a formal opinion. The court system already prohibits the classification of race as a protected class. “I do not see how the City of Milwaukee’s policy of discriminating against married people would stand constitutional muster,” said Grothman.
“As a sign of respect for Wisconsin’s hard-working families, I sincerely hope the Governor will include this legislation as part of his budget,” said Grothman.