Governor Scott Walker is creating a road to fascism in a hurry in Wisconsin. Not only does his “budget repair bill” hand over utilities to private industry but now this tea party conservative wants to privatize food stamp allocations.
This plan would allow a for profit corporation to decide who gets food and who doesn’t. On top of this 20 million dollars will be taken away from Wisconsin in Federal aid for help.
Walker’s proposed 2011-’13 budget would take this work from the remaining counties and centralize it with the state by using a private contractor to do much of the work. The Walker administration estimates that the proposal would save $48 million per year and eliminate 270 positions.
If this corporation makes a mistake, who does a person call? When a service is privatized that corporation is ONLY answerable to shareholders and depending on the contract the state signs, the corporation may have that job for 3, 5, or even 10 years before anything can be rectified.
In a recent report by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to privatize work determining who is eligible for food assistance in the state would violate federal law and could expose the state to a loss of more than $20 million in federal money, federal officials say.
In an April 14 letter to state Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith and Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson, Ollice Holden, a Midwest administrator for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, warned that the work of interviewing applicants and deciding who is eligible for the Wisconsin FoodShare program needs to be done by public workers who are essentially civil servants. If not, he said, the state could lose some of the federal funds supporting FoodShare, the successor in Wisconsin to the food stamp program.
In a statement released Thursday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Recent state agency privatization initiatives in Texas and Indiana have been complete failures, marked by technical difficulties, staffing shortages, and inadequate training of private call-center staff and resulting in adverse impacts on the state and its people.
“USDA will continue to work with Wisconsin to improve its program delivery and integrity so that the most vulnerable people in the state receive the nutrition benefits they need,” Vilsack said.
Walker’s proposal is just the latest strain on the state’s partnership with the federal government on FoodShare.
From Michigan to Wisconsin, these tea party Governors are allowing corporations to strangle our resources. Over in Michigan emergency managers are busy privatizing schools left and right.
Watch out, the next step may be privatizing the Great Lakes.
Image: Tennessee Guerrilla Woman