Statement on the Proposed State Budget
Despite the promised removal of language gutting Wisconsin's open records law, this proposed budget is still a disaster that deserves to be rejected. Here are some of the reasons why:
Transportation Funding: A path to nowhere
This budget does nothing to address sustainability of the transportation fund, where revenues continue to decline. Instead it puts half a billion dollars on the state's credit card and delays needed maintenance and repair. How far do you suppose that $5 of property tax relief will go towards replacing our cars' battered struts and shocks?
School Funding: Voucher schools get the gold mine, public schools get the shaft
Legislators pat themselves on the back for reducing the Governor's proposed cuts, but the fact remains that over half of Wisconsin's public school districts will see aid reduced. Meanwhile vouchers for private schools are expanded and payments increased, with the money coming directly from public schools. It's worth noting that 80% of students who receive vouchers have never attended a public school. Instead of giving people a choice, vouchers subsidize a choice they have already made. Wisconsin taxpayers cannot afford to pay for two separate and unequal school systems.
University of Wisconsin: Cutting off your nose to spite your face
As someone said, why throw sand into the gears of our state's greatest economic engine? The fact is UW faculty are already paid less than faculty at comparable schools. More budget cuts combined with weakening tenure will chase away the best and brightest, along with the millions of dollars of research grants that will go with them. As one Republican Senator admitted, "UW does not deserve this."
Abolish the Sabbath
Yes, this budget eliminates the requirement that workers have one day in seven off.
More Attacks on Local Control
As a local elected official, I am appalled by the broad scope of meddling by the legislature in local government affairs. This budget reduces local control in issues including shore land zoning, insurance requirements, storm water runoff, sewage district boards, coroner fees, certain school boards, certain county boards, and many others.
None of this is Necessary
Many of the things in this budget have nothing to do with fiscal policy, and should be debated and considered on their own merit separately. There is sufficient money available to avoid the foolish cuts to UW and public schools without raising anyone's taxes. Wisconsin is not broke, just mismanaged.
Pete Flesch, Crawford County Board Chair