Apparently Republican State Rep. Dale Kooyenga of upper class Brookfield and Republican State Sen. Alberta Darling of filthy rich River Hills think they know just how to fix poverty in the City of Milwaukee. Rep. Kooyenga and Sen. Darling, who’s famous for privatizing the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare and making it worse than it was when Milwaukee County ran it, seem to think that weakening unions and closing public schools so less accountable charter schools can open up is the way to combat poverty in Milwaukee.
Here are some highlights of the legislation proposed by Rep. Kooyenga and Sen. Darling, as outlined by Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
■ Eliminate the corporate income tax for companies locating in needy urban zones. The tax cut would apply only if the business is from an industry not already represented in Wisconsin by existing companies, such as auto manufacturing.
■ Establish zones in which labor unions and private employers would not be able to reach agreements that require workers to pay union dues. Some Republicans are already pushing to make this so-called “right-to-work” approach the law statewide.
Opponents of the proposal question whether the state would have the authority under federal law to implement right-to-work in some parts of Wisconsin but not others.
■ Eliminate in those zones the so-called “minimum markup” law, which prevents retailers from selling their products at a loss. The markup requirement would still apply to fuel sales.
■ Allow the formation of for-profit limited liability companies that could operate more like nonprofits. The companies would not be tax-exempt, but they would not be obliged to pursue only profits for their shareholders, leaving them more legal flexibility to work on behalf of their communities.
Other education proposals from Darling and Kooyenga include:
■ Streamlining the process for allowing high-performing charter schools to open additional schools.
Allowing high-performing charter schools run by MPS or non-MPS entities to automatically add new schools without official approval, if their students’ average reading and math test score results beat the district average for two years in a row.
■ Convert the approximately $40 million MPS receives each year for school integration efforts within the system to a block grant with no state mandates.
Among the more ridiculous poverty-combating proposals put forth by Rep. Kooyenga and Sen. Darling is a reform that would eliminate licensure requirements for African hair braiding.
As Stein’s article notes, it doesn’t appear Rep. Kooyenga or Sen. Darling reached out to any of the members of Milwaukee’s legislative delegation to seek their input, because the two suburban Republicans clearly know how best to combat poverty in a community they don’t actually live in or represent.
If you’d like to read the Kooyenga-Darling plan for yourselves, here you go: