In the Joint Finance Committee's final sprint to pass an already pork-filled budget, Senator Darling - co-chair of the state's budget writing committee - slipped in some more bacon in the middle of the night. An amendment that Senator Darling sponsored would have allowed fired Milwaukee police officers - including those suspected of very serious offenses like drunk driving, domestic abuse, and even rape - to continue receiving pay until all of their appeals have been exhausted.
This provision was heavily favored by the Milwaukee Police Association, which has strongly supported and donated to Senator Darling and many other Republican candidates.
Milwaukee taxpayers were burdened with this costly mandate for years until lawmakers took action to reign in and repeal it over the past two legislative sessions. It is estimated that Milwaukee taxpayers were saddled with roughly $4.5 million due to this mandate, and legislative action to tighten the spigot has saved hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Not only did Senator Darling ask Governor Walker to veto her special interest handout after voting for it in committee and vocally supporting it on the Senate floor, she actually voted to eliminate this mandate in 2008. This type of behavior simply defies logic – that is, unless you are a 20-year career politician.
Unfortunately, Senator Darling's recent addition to her laundry list of flip-flops over the years only symbolizes how she has similarly turned her back on her constituents through the toxic state budget she wrote and voted to enact.
In the budget she considers the “best budget [she has] ever seen,” she chose to shift billions of dollars from public education, healthcare, and local services, to handouts and favors for big corporations and special interests.
The fact that Senator Darling continues to boast about the great success her and Governor Walker’s budget represents for her party bosses and campaign donors shows just how out of touch she has become with the values and priorities of her constituents.
Her most recent flip-flop and steadfast support for this extreme budget reinforce what this recall election is really all about. It is about taking back the 8th Senate District for the people of our community and electing a Senator who will represent the values we all share – the same values Senator Darling unfortunately seems to have forgotten, or flip-flopped on, time and time again.