Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Elmbrook's Murphy: Right Again, and the SBC Connection

As usual, Pat Murphy, a member of the Elmbrook School Board, is making the Right point:

Board member Patrick Murphy said the district should lobby the Legislature to allow school districts to exceed revenue limits to fund capital improvements.

This is Federalism--or more plainly, "local control." When the Republicans managed to force State-mandated spending caps on locals, it was an emotional, not a rational, decision. WEAC had managed to obtain a monopoly status, largely because of the ennui of many local school boards and cooperative lefty-influenced courts and administrative laws; and WEAC was driving horrific cost-increases.

But removing local control is not a solution; change-of-control in the State's legislative and executive branches will quickly lead to State-mandated increases in school budgets.

A similar situation exists with AB207. The bill, pushed by SBC/ATT, would allow ATT to offer U-Verse, its alternative to cable TV. That's fine--competition is a good thing.

But AB 207 also removes "local control." In effect, once a franchise is granted (and they WILL be granted,) the municipality has zero, zip, nada to say about the operation of the franchise. Of course, the municipalities had another thing in mind--they wanted a cut of the money, just like they got from the cable providers. On the other hand, consumers who are unhappy will have to deal with someone in Madistan for redress, rather than a neighboring alderman. (Think that is not a problem? Ask Charter Cable subscribers in the Madison area.)

Only the State will have authority--either the PSC or the Consumer Protection function in the AG's office.

This is not necessarily a benefit to "consumers."

And just like the school-spending cap, it's subject to abuse downtrack.

"Federalism" is another word for 'subsidiarity,' which is a time-tested method of governance. In these days of showboating Congress and Legislative figures, (not to mention showboating Governors and Presidents) it's hard to imagine that some things are best resolved at a low level.

But it should not be forgotten, except at great risk.

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