Archives for posts with tag: state budget

Today’s news summary will be a bit harried, as I have a pint of Guinness waiting for me in a darkened pub.  As always, an archive of news clips related to Fitzwalkerstan is available on my “Save the State” page. Here are today’s highlights:

1. Governor Walker will balance his budget on the back of poor sick people

In light of the centuries of oppression and poverty endured by the Irish, today is as good as any to point out that Governor Walker’s budget will do the most harm to the most vulnerable in our community.  They will see tax increases, decreases in education and training funding, healthcare cuts and possibly death. That’s not an exaggeration, read my full post on it.   But, hey, at least the state will have more funding for their funerals!

2. More lawsuits, more ethics inquiries

Today, local activist Ben Masel filed a lawsuit regarding the constitutionality of the state’s new event permitting process at the Capitol. Yes, he’s a marijuana activist, but in Madison our marijuana activists are informed and they know the law.

Also the Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board over Governor Walker’s meeting with a national republican pollster at the State Capitol.

3. Governor Walker and Wisconsin GOP leaders went to D.C. for a political payoff after “winning” against unions

Just in case you thought the republicans’ policies were based on doing what they think is best from Wisconsin, Governor Walker and the state GOP leadership went out to D.C. last night to receive a massive payout from Washington-based lobbyists and other corporate donors as a thank-you for ramming through Governor Walker’s anti-worker legislation last week. Amazingly, some in the GOP refrained from this payday, which could be a signal that some republicans actually care what people in Wisconsin think about them. From the Capital Times:

Absent from the gathering were the other 16 Republican state senators, including Senate President Mike Ellis, who took the lead in forcing majority leader Fitzgerald to back off his attempt to deny Democratic senators the vote. Capitol aides say that Ellis and a number of other senior senators have grown increasingly ill at ease with Fitzgerald’s erratic behavior and with his inability to recognize the damage that could be done to Republicans by flying into Washington to pick up corporate money in return for passing Walker’s plan.

“There’s just no way to spin this as a positive,” said one aide, who suggested that Ellis would look “like a bagman.”

(Notably, Congressman Sean Duffy, a Republican from northern Wisconsin, contacted media outlets to emphasize that he had not been invited to the event and would not be attending.)

As with anything Governor Walker does lately, there was a large protest outside the D.C.  fundraiser.  Visit dane101 for some some great pictures.

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Sewing the seeds for a big season of recalls

In perhaps the most awe-inspiring show of solidarity since Wisconsinites began protesting Governor Scott Walker’s extreme budget measures nearly a month ago, farmers from across the state joined protesters in a tractorcade around the Capitol Square.  It was the start of what would prove to be the largest day yet of protests, despite the Governor signing on Friday his controversial proposal to strip public employees of most union rights.

For the farmers who made it to the capitol, it was not only a chance to show solidarity with the other Wisconsin working families but also an opportunity draw attention to the potential impacts Walker’s  proposals will have on Wisconsin farm families. From the Capital Times:

“This isn’t us versus them, with farmers siding with union employees,” says Scott Schultz, executive director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. “In rural farm communities, Walker’s budget is hitting home in a number of ways.”

Although unions and collective bargaining have strong roots in the farm industry — the Wisconsin Farmers Union began in the 1930s — Peck says Saturday’s rallies are about more than preserving union rights.

Peck says many of those coming to Madison are upset by the realization that Walker’s agenda is “sacrificing Wisconsin’s quality of life for everyone, not just unions.”

“There are other things going on here. If BadgerCare is wiped out or scaled back, a lot of these people won’t have health care anymore,” Peck says.

Roughly 11,000, or one in seven, farmers and their family members receive health coverage through BadgerCare, according to the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

In additional to sharply curtailed healthcare access, under Governor Walker’s budget proposals rural communities may face a public education crisis.  Governor Walker’s budget cuts hundreds of millions from public education in the state (interestingly, it raises funding for charter and choice school).  But Walker’s budget does not give school districts any tools to increase revenues to offset cuts and instead only allows districts to cut (obviously Walker prefers the cuts to come out of the paychecks of middle-class teachers). But for very rural districts with fewer services and even fewer teachers, it will be hard to find enough to cut without dramatically impacting the quality of education rural students receive.  For a wealthier district, or districts closer to larger cities, it might be possible to consolidate services with other schools to find cuts.  But for rural schools, where students are often already bused for miles to attend a single high school that serves many farm communities, it will also be difficult to find more ways to consolidate without risking rural students’ ability to access comparable services.

Without good school systems, many rural communities may see dwindling populations as those who can afford to move to areas with better services will be far more likely to do so. For the rural students whose parents can not move, it will mean they no longer have access to the same level of education and opportunity as their suburban counterparts. For the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites, like myself, who descend from Wisconsin farm families and who share a deep passion for preserving Wisconsin’s family farm culture, Walker’s budget proposals will lead to a devastating and potentially irreversible disintegration of the lifestyle that brought our ancestors across oceans to sew Wisconsin’s rich farmland. Walker’s proposals are a betrayal of our fundamental support of rural living and truly shows that his values and not Wisconsin values.

Below are more images from Saturday’s Tractorcade:

4th Generation Badger with this tractor

One little legislator at a time

An "S" and a "Y" spell solidarity

Hope sustains Wisconsin farmers

This week Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continued his undeclared war on the majority of Wisconsinites by announcing a budget aimed at cutting public education, environmental protections, support of local governments and safety net services for the poor and disabled.  Apparently Governor Walker’s plan for creating 250,000 jobs is to start by ensuring the elimination of about 100,000 of them first and essentially destroying Wisconsin’s quality of life??

But never fear, not everyone in Wisconsin will feel the pain. The Governor’s budget gives an additional $400 million in funding to transportation!  But by transportation I mean only road building, as the Governor’s proposed budget would also decimate bus systems and pedestrian/bike programs. I’m sure this “improved” funding for road builders is all about job creation or something and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that road builders gave over $120,000 to Governor Walker’s campaign–making them one of his largest donors.

At the bottom of the page is a run-down of some of the budget info I’ve compiled over last couple of days. But it is very, very bad.  Huge cuts to education (the poorest districts will suffer the most).  But more funding to choice and charter schools–so rich people in the Republican Milwaukee suburbs will be set! Major cuts to environmental programs, like recycling?? Cuts, to local government with the aim of forcing them to cut salary and benefits for teachers.  It’s truly reprehensible. You can find out all about the budget proposal PLUS information about the battle to save unions on my “Save the State” page.  I will update it as the debates and battles continue.  In the meantime, here’s an ad from Bold Progressives, which supports ActBlue (which is raising money for the 14 Dem Senators in Illinois and to get the word out across the state about the devastation contained within the Governor’s proposals).

2011-2013 Biennial Budget (By Subject)

General

MJS–The new normal of sacrifice

Politifact: Scott Walker says Wisconsin is broke (Ruling: False)

Governor Walker’s budget cuts would reshape the state

Cieslewicz, Falk blast Walker’s budget plans

In Madison–Governor Walker packed his budget address with ringers

Scott Walker’s Budget Address: The ego has landed

Transformative, yes, but is this budget fair?

Wispolitics Budget Blog

Transcript–Scott Walker’s Budget Address

Department of Administration Budget Page

Education (K-12, UW-System, Charter Schools, Technical Colleges)

State actions have local teachers weighing retirement

MJS–Don’t forget students when mulling what’s next for MPS

MJS–Wisconsin school districts studying impact of proposed cuts

MJS–MPS has to cut $74 million more

Facing cut to state aid: MATC officials wonder how they’ll pay for new buildings

Walker’s war on equality

Walker’s budget hits MATC hard

Budget cuts hundreds of millions from schools

University of Wisconsin System faces $250 million in cuts, restructuring

Walker plans to phase out Wisconsin Covenant

Budget would take more than $20 million from Madison schools

Walker gives charter more chance

Good news, bad news for UW tuition

Local Governments

Municipal, county governments target of large cuts in Walker budget

Health Care (Medicaid, Badger Care, Women’s Health)

CT–Guess why Walker wants to freeze State Life Fund

MJS–Experimentation yes, but done with transparency

CT–Right-to-lifers are on cloud nine

MJS–Women’s health–Culture war redux

Advocates for people on Medicaid pan Walker’s budget speech

Walker’s budget removes insurance requirement to cover birth control

Budget aims to end growth of Medicaid programs in the state

Taxes

Walker’s budget slashes that aid poor

Walker’s proposed capital gains tax breaks get lukewarm backing

Environmental Issues

CT–Energy Programs get Walker ax

Walker budget would eliminate office of energy independence (Also pulls back on mandates for agencies to use less gas)

State recycling mandate, funding eliminated under Walker’s budget

Walker’s budget removes $1.1 million for recycling in Madison

Transportation

MJS–Busting Bus Systems

Walker budget eliminates money for bike/pedestrian improvements

Full speed ahead for Zoo Interchange

Other

State pension shift faces a 401 (k) turn

Ethan Allen closing stows hope

Walker’s budget all but kills public financing for state supreme court elections

Budget would end early release program for non-violent prisoners