Matt Flynn makes no bones about it. He wants to run as a “Democrat’s Democrat.”
Flynn, 70, a former commercial litigator and chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, is just the latest in now a growing primary field of challengers to incumbent Republican governor Scott Walker. Just how he hoped his plans would be enough to separate himself from the rest of the pack was made clear during an interview on Wednesday’s edition “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” on 620 WTMJ.
Scott Waras and Melissa Barclay interviewed Flynn for about five minutes.
Flynn did not waste anytime expressing his progressive stance on the issues.
If elected, Flynn made clear he would do all he could to repeal Act 10 and the state’s Right-to-Work law. He called Act 10 a “haunting document” and said it was “insulting to teachers” because it took away their collective bargaining rights. However, he made no inclinations on how he’d make up the $5 billion in taxpayer savings the law has provided since its enactment.
Like all other Democrats in the field, Flynn was openly opposed to the Foxconn deal, saying it is nothing more than a campaign gimmick by Walker to say he’s created job. He also incorrectly identified Foxconn as a Chinese company; not a Taiwanese company.
As for paying for the state’s transportation needs, Flynn made no qualms about seeing a return to indexing the state’s gas tax to inflation. The practice of indexing; where the state’s gas tax was tied to the consumer price index and leading to automatically increases year after year, ended in 2005 after a successful effort by grassroots conservatives lead to its repeal.
The idea at the time was to force Wisconsin’s lawmakers and other policy makers to make the tough decisions when it came to road spending and also have state legislators on the record when it came to gas tax increases instead of letting them hide behind indexing. Flynn’s way would likely increase bureaucratic power and decrease government transparency.
But one idea of Flynn’s did raise eyebrows.
Flynn stated he would create a “lockbox” on the state transportation fund making raids by the governor and state legislature illegal. This is no doubt a reference to an infamous 2005 raid by then-Democratic Governor Jim Doyle who stole $400 million from the transportation fund to pay for other spending.
It’s a fine idea, but it’s already been done. In 2014 voters were asked to consider a a state constitutional amendment saying just that. It passed with nearly 80 percent of the vote approving the following question:
“Creation of a Transportation Fund. Shall section 9 (2) of article IV and section 11 of article VIII of the constitution be created to require that revenues generated by use of the state transportation system be deposited into a transportation fund administered by a department of transportation for the exclusive purpose of funding Wisconsin’s transportation systems and to prohibit any transfers or lapses from this fund?”
Clearly the lapse happening here was in Flynn’s memory regarding recent state political action. This was quickly criticized by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) via Twitter.
— Jim Steineke (@jimsteineke) October 11, 2017
— Jim Steineke (@jimsteineke) October 12, 2017
How Flynn forgot that remains a mystery.
Finally, the former commercial litigator made no qualms about putting the state back on track – literally – by saying Governor Walker was wrong to turn his back on millions of federal dollars for high-speed rail projects. Projects which have shown to be nothing but expensive and long-delayed boondoggles in places like California.
Also running for in the Democratic gubernatorial primary are state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, state Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), state representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), campaign finance reform advocate Mike McCabe, as well as liberal activists Bob Harlow and Michele Doolan.