Remember the fog we had New Year's Eve, when the Capitol dome seemed to disappear into the mist? Well, it turns out that was no illusion. Scott Walker had the dome removed Friday night. It's all explained in a news release from the Governor-Elect's office. Although it was embargoed until after his inauguration Monday, I obtained an advance copy over the weekend and am sharing it as a public service.
Capitol Dome No Longer a Burden to Wisconsin Taxpayers
From the Office of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, 1/03/11
Gov. Scott Walker responds to inquiries about why the Wisconsin State Capitol Dome was replaced Friday night by a flat roof.
"Sure, it's a pretty little dome. But in these difficult times it is a luxury the taxpayers of the great State of Wisconsin can no longer afford," says Gov. Scott Walker. "True, the Dome was already paid for. But the annual upkeep and maintenance costs were a burden Wisconsin taxpayers no longer could afford. A flat roof will be much more affordable and sustainable in the long run."
The Governor added that, after saving taxpayers millions by stopping the high speed rail boondoggle he could not, in all good conscience, take the oath of office in a building topped by an architectural boondoggle.
The Governor lauded the Doyle Administration's cooperation in allowing the dome to be disassembled prior to his inauguration today by an all-volunteer crew of small business people, tax reformers and lobbyists. No state funds were expended in the removal of the dome and its replacement.
"While undoubtedly the Capitol dome provided a nice view for the elite who live in Madison, it's simply a fact that it did not provide much value to other Wisconsin residents. You can't see it from the rest of the state. I used to look out my window in Wauwatosa, and I never saw it," says Walker. "Why should taxpayers who never see it be forced to pay for its upkeep?"
Walked added that the jobs of state workers who used to provide dome maintenance would be eliminated, and the workers would either be reassigned or asked to reapply for jobs with his new private-public hybrid entity, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
"Wisconsin is open for business," says Gov. Walker. "What better way to underscore this than to reorient the Capitol. For decades it has been a cost center, beautiful to look at, but a drag on the state's economy. We plan to turn it into a profit center. Naming rights alone should enable us to cut taxes by millions, and this is just the beginning. A new day has dawned for Wisconsin taxpayers."