Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Media hones in on Koch brothers and Walker's proposal to sell state energy plants

SHAWN DOHERTY-The Capital Times

No wonder Gov. Walker was in such a hurry to get his budget repair bill passed. Every day new stuff comes out about it.

The labor issues were obvious and got all the attention for a while. But then people started uncovering the fact that the bill would hand the Walker administration sweeping powers to revamp Medicaid with little public and legislative input.

Now a third piece of the 144-page bill is making headlines -- a power grab some critics believe could be political payback to the conservative Koch brothers.

The bill allows the Walker administration, without approval of the public services commission and without a competitive bidding process, to sell off or lease the state's several dozen energy plants to private companies.

The state can sell the energy plants "with or without the solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state," according to the rather circular wording of this clause, which then concludes that "any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest."

This is not new news -- shortly after the release of the bill, the Wisconsin State Journal published an article about the measure, and so did the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other state media.

What's different is that now, thanks in part to the delay caused by Democratic state senators fleeing the state to stall the measure, people are starting to connect some dots.............

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