wisconsin budget

When Up is Down

Kathleen Vinehout

September 13, 2017

Trying to understand last minute deals taking away local powers

By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

A last-minute budget amendment has folks in Western Wisconsin very worried.

Locals have spent seven years negotiating with large sand mines to reach agreements that

allow neighbors and mines to co-exist. In some cases, locals decided certain sensitive and

tourist areas needed protection from mines.

All the careful negotiations appear poised to go out the window in a strangely evolving

Foxconn: The Hype and the Small Print

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Great News! A big tech company called Foxconn is coming to southeast Wisconsin and bringing with it a lot of new jobs. The new company will build a big factory and make flat screens for computers.
 
The Governor tells us the company will create 13,000 jobs that pay nearly $54,000. Other businesses will benefit because the company will buy things from Wisconsin businesses.
 
But, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the Rest of the Story.”

Seeking Solutions for State Road Budget

Kathleen Vinehout

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

A tall man stopped me in the hall of the Capitol. “Can’t you just increase the gas tax?” he asked me. “I’m here to ask my Republican Senator to increase the gas tax. We need to fix the roads.”

He smiled. Then said, “Hi, my name is Steve. I’m a Republican. I just don’t think it’s conservative to keep borrowing to maintain the roads. We’ve got to pay for what we spend.”

Steve was earnest in his desire to find a solution to the road budget. I’ve heard similar concerns from folks attending my recent town hall meetings.

What Choices Would You Make?

Kathleen Vinehout

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

In the next few weeks, state lawmakers are voting on how Wisconsin spends money over the next two years. The choices legislators make will affect our communities and our lives.

 

Lawmakers are working off a spending plan submitted by the Governor earlier this year. Changes have already been made to his proposal.

 

For example, the budget writing committee removed much of the new money for the University of Wisconsin System. Big spending cuts in the last budget forced, among other things, a reorganization of UW-Extension, which may leave local communities without their own Ag or 4-H agents.

 

This year, the Governor’s budget returned about one-sixth of that cut and ties the increase to new “performance” standards. However, majority party lawmakers cut that increase roughly in half and disapproved a small decrease in tuition.

Sen. Vinehout - State Budget: Start with What's Real

Kathleen Vinehout

State Budget: Start with What’s Real

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

When it comes to paying the bills you’ve got to deal with what’s real. You can’t spend rhetoric.

 

Lawmakers are doubling down to deal with the state budget. Public hearings and town hall meetings are scheduled across the state. Many civic groups are hosting legislators in a discussion of the state budget. Many are burning the midnight oil to get to the bottom of the state’s financial matters.

 

Rep.Hintz Op/Ed: Wisconsin’s Self-Inflicted Budget Problems

Just six months after Wisconsin’s two-year state budget was passed, state revenues are projected to come in below expectations due to slow economic growth. Less revenue makes it more difficult for the current Legislature to pass bills with any cost. Even worse, the slower economic growth projections forecast significant budget challenges for the future 2017-2019 budget.

 

Rep. Hintz - Manufactured Band-Aid Can’t Hide Republican Budget Mess

(MADISON)  Following the announcement by the Department of Administration that the 2015 fiscal year ended with a $135 million balance, Legislative Republicans congratulated themselves on an end of fiscal year “surplus” that was $381 million less than the budget balance they started with.

 

Contrary to claims made by Republicans about “careful budgeting” and growing revenue that produced the year end $135 million balance, the reality is the budget fixes relied on skipping debt payments, raiding compensation reserves, and capturing two years of Potawatomi gaming payments in one year.

 

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