A Few Budget Details that Didn’t Make Headlines

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Governors are a bit like salesmen,” I recently told a reporter. “They put good news in the headlines and bury bad news in the small print.”
 
Governor Walker recently released his two-year state budget. Amid much fanfare, he touted providing much needed money for schools, roads, and the UW. I went digging through budget documents released by the Governor. I knew there was more to the story.
 
First, I must say Wisconsin has one of the most opaque budgeting processes I have ever seen. For example, there is no clear table comparing actual spending in each fiscal year to budgeted spending.
 
We are still waiting for some details the Governor has not yet released. For example, his capital budget, which includes total proposed borrowing, is not yet available.

Senator Vinehout statement on the Governor’s Budget Address

Kathleen Vinehout

Let’s wait to see the small print

“Governors like to put the good news in headlines and the bad news in small print.”

“Over the next several weeks, we will learn more about the small print details when the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau releases their budget summary. Until then, Wisconsin citizens would be well advised to reserve judgement on Governor Walker’s plan."

# # #

Rep. Sargent: Walker and Wisconsin GOP: “This is fine. Everything is Fine Here.”

Democrats still wondering which Wisconsin the GOP is talking about in today’s budget address

 

(MADISON) - Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) released the following statement in response to Governor Walker’s 2017 budget address:

 

“Here’s a shorter version of Governor Walker’s budget fairytale he’s trying to peddle to the people of Wisconsin:”

This is fine 

Increasing Funding for Voucher and Charter Schools Comes at a Big Cost

Kathleen Vinehout

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New estimate by LFB shows funding parity price tag is over $100M

ALMA, WI - For many years, voucher and charter school advocates sought funding parity while rural schools struggle to stay open. Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) responded to a new analysis done by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau pegging the parity price tag at over $100M.

 

Senator Kathleen Vinehout commented, “I cannot sit idly by while voucher and charter school advocates ask for more money when my rural public schools can barely afford the basics.”

 

“Taking $100 million away from 867,000 public school students for 42,000 private voucher and charter school students is foolish,” said Senator Vinehout. “For the last three budgets, Republicans have given handouts to private voucher and charter schools at the expense of public schools. Legislators must not continue this trend with the new budget.”

School Funding: It’s about More than Money

Kathleen Vinehout
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Public education in Wisconsin should provide high quality learning for ALL children no matter who they are or where they live,” Eau Claire School Board President Chris Hambuch-Boyle recently told me.
 
Chris and education leaders across the state read with interest details of the Governor’s plan for our next state budget. Governor Walker gave money to a number of new initiatives and reaped the praise of some education leaders.
 
The plan picks and chooses among various proposals advanced over the last few years. Some new programs are funded and some existing programs get more money. The plan is a compromise.
 
However – as with any political compromise – we should know what is not included and what is not being done.
 

Paul Ryan Defends Trump - sort of

Paul Ryan

On this morning's NBC NEWS' Meet The Press with Chuck Todd Paul Ryan defended the position of the president on many issues, with just enough pull-back to make himself sound sane. It is interesting to watch the line that Republicans are treading at the moment as they need to defend the antics of the increasingly erratic president while remaining loyal to their party and still looking like they are the adults in the room. He starts by back-tracking on the Iran sanctions

CHUCK TODD:

Speaker Ryan, welcome back to Meet The Press.

PAUL RYAN:

Thanks for having me.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's start with news of the-- of Friday. Iran sanctions, new executive order signed. There is wide support in Congress for more sanctions on Iran—

PAUL RYAN:

That's right.

CHUCK TODD:

That is clear. Let me ask you this, though. Would you like to see the beginnings of trying to get out of the nuclear deal?

PAUL RYAN:

Well, a lot of that toothpaste is already out of the tube. I never supported the deal in the first place. I thought it was a huge mistake. But the multilateral sanctions are done. So—

CHUCK TODD:

Done meaning you're not going to be able to put that back together--

PAUL RYAN:

Yeah, I don't think you're going to go back and reconstitute the multilateral sanctions that were in place.

CHUCK TODD:

Should we try, though?

RYAN:

So, I don’t think we-- I think we should expend our effort where it can pay off the most. And that's why I think what they're doing now does make a lot of sense. So I think the key is to rigorously enforce this deal. But also, remember, they're testing ballistic missiles. They're still the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Human rights abuses galore.

And so those are where I think we also need to ratchet up sanctions. I think what this administration is doing, which I agree with, is saying, "We have a new administration, and we're going to hold you, Iran, to account." This last administration did not do that. This new administration needs to do that. And I think that's what you're getting here.

CHUCK TODD:

Is there-- Where is the line here? Are you concerned that Iran might retaliate, and suddenly we're a part of the proxy war in Yemen? I mean--

PAUL RYAN:

But look what they were doing, we're appeasing them already. So it couldn't get worse--

The alternative to Scott Walker's Budget

Scott Walker is gearing up to present his new budget, which will be more of the same predictable stuff - tax cuts to the rich, small amounts of money to schools and broadband, which will only slightly make up for previous gutting of these items, and more.

We need to remind ourselves that there are alternatives.  Citizen Action of Wisconsin has an alternative budget for all, which you can read at the link below. It is a big shift in priorities from what we are doing now. I am including a video of Dr. Rober Kraig at Citizen Action, where he explains what went into making this alternative budget.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Presents Alternative Budget

Scott Walker - Abuser

I used to have a friend who was in a terrible abusive relationship. Several times her boyfriend put her in the hospital, once having broken several bones in her face. Despite the pleas of all of her friends to leave this guy, she stayed. I'm not finding fault with her, lots of women in this situation stay, with a number of different reasons, though I suspect in her case it was a matter of astoundingly low self-esteem.

Why do I bring this up?  The story here is not that someone was abused - but the behavior of the abuser.  He knew exactly what buttons to push to keep this relationship going. He came to the hospital, was profusely sorry, always bringing a gift, something soft and cuddly and feminine like a teddy bear. She several times explained to me that he was incredibly good to her because he was always sorry for what he had done, and besides, they had amazing sex. I have to admit that I could never understand the concept of having amazing sex with someone who was physically and emotionally abusive, but this apparently works differently for other people.

Scott Walker as of late is coming to us with the ol' teddy bear. Because he senses we are getting restless. The state has suffered a fair amount of abuse at his hands.  Unions?  - Gone.  Schools? - Underfunded. Roads? - Barely passable, despite spending a wad of cash. But now the budget is suddenly flush ( well, in theory anyway) and we're making little tiny baby steps to get some of the money back. Our schools may get a little more cash, but only if we're all good girls and do like daddy says. We'll get some broadband money -- oh nowhere near what we could have had from the feds years ago, but taking our own tax money back from Washington would have been wrong.  They take it away in 100 dollar bills, and make up for it with loose change. The current administration is really good with the abuse, and they know that eventually we'll just give up and re-elect them because it's too dangerous to stand up for ourselves. And we don't even get great sex. 

It's time to walk out. CItizen Action of Wisconsin and several other nonprofits in the state are promoting an alternative budget. It is full of great ideas for shifting the state's priorities. Let's fight for change, and for getting people in Madison who care about us all the time, not just once in a while to convince us they still care.

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