Monday, July 23, 2007

Lacking the context

The JS has been running a number of stories on budget requests from county departments. This is all well and good, but running these stories without mentioning the potential impacts of current state budget deliberations is a disservice to readers.

This morning's story on proposed transit cuts, for example, does not mention the proposal by state Democrats to boost state aid for the Milwaukee County Transit 2.5% plus $4 million. Under the Senate budget, MCTS would get $63.8 million in 2008 and $65.3 million in 2009; under the Gov. Doyle/Assembly proposal of a flat, below-inflation 2% increase in operating aids, MCTS would get $60.3 million in 2008 and $61.5 million in 2009.

The JS story reports that MCTS proposes to raise fares from $1.75 to $2 and cut 13 routes.

Would the county need to cut all those routes if the Senate proposal were adopted?

The story seems to be predicated on the Doyle proposal. Or maybe it is based on no increase in state aids. Or maybe it is based on the Senate proposal, but I really, really doubt that.

And there's exactly the problem. The state budget will have huge impacts on the fate of county programs like the transit system. The JS could easily include in its county stories the impacts of the Doyle, Senate, and Assembly budgets. Why isn't it doing that?

1 comment: said...

And why don't newspapers research and print the real government-contributed cost of private/auto transportation?
Every dime that is proposed for train or bus transit gets headlined. But you never see the actual cost of private transit, even in the fine print. Someone, maybe the legislative audit bureaus, should break out and add up transit costs out of streets depts., police, sheriff, roadbuilding, city, county, state, federal, etc., etc. In that context, with an even playing field, buses and trains would be fare-free!