AP: A new law restricting how the University of Wisconsin System provides Internet access could make things difficult for students and raise costs for taxpayers, school officials told auditors in a report released Tuesday. UW schools are members of WiscNet, a nonprofit cooperative that provides high-speed Internet services to a majority of public schools in Wisconsin and nearly all public libraries … WiscNet is able to offer services at half the cost of commercial providers, in part because it's tax-exempt and also because it doesn't have to pay for marketing and other operating costs.
But the Walker Authority is opposed to saving taxpayer money if it’s at the expense of private businesses. His formula is simple; taxpayer money + Scott Walker = big corporate profits:
The telecommunications industry lobbied heavily against the setup, arguing that WiscNet was using public subsidies to compete unfairly with the private sector.
But it saved taxpayers money? So what, says Republican State Rep. Samantha Kerkman:
Kerkman, co-chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, said she wanted to be sure the relationship between the UW System and WiscNet "hasn't gone too far." She said she was concerned about tax dollars being used to subsidize competition from private firms.
Her fellow co-chair, Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, said the issue boils down to a simple question: Is the Internet a public good or is it only for private profit? "I side with the university that this is a public good," Vinehout said.
Walker’s gang of corporate legislative pirates decided to pillage unsuspecting taxpayers again:
Lawmakers passed a law last year that restricted the UW System's involvement in telecommunications services. UW officials are now left with limited options they say will be more expensive … UW System President Kevin O'Reilly: "Act 32 will result in multimillion-dollar increases in network costs, forcing students and/or taxpayers to bear the greater costs," he wrote in a letter to auditors.
Factoid to Remember for “small government” low information voters:
The state Legislative Audit Bureau report said WiscNet members paid about $500 month for Internet services that would have cost $1,100 or more if provided by commercial services.