wisconsin budget

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.

 

Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight

Kathleen Vinehout
Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“I object to the infringement on gubernatorial power and duties,” wrote Governor Walker in his veto message. By his budget vetoes he made it clear he did not want legislative oversight.

 

The governor removed at least 15 portions of state law passed by the legislature that provided legislative authority or provided oversight of the executive branch.

 

Remember your 4th grade civics class lessons about the delicate balance of powers between the three branches of government – the governor (and executive agencies,), the legislature, and the judiciary. The power of the people lies in the power of their elected officials. The peoples’ representatives are their most direct line of power. When legislative power is undermined, so is the power of the people.

 

The governor began the budget process by taking away powers given to the people and the legislature. For example, the citizen board members of the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture lost all their policy-making powers in the governor’s budget. The legislature lost its oversight of state building projects in the governor’s changes to the Building Commission. The people lost budget restrictions in the governor’s gutting of the cost-benefit analysis requirements. These powers were all restored in action by the legislature.

 

However, through his vetoes, the governor again limited the power of the people through their legislature. For example, the legislature held onto funds the governor put in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) budget. The very troubled jobs agency was to submit policy changes to the legislature. Presumably, those funds could be released funds if the budget writing committee members were satisfied progress was made. The governor took the funds set aside by the budget committee through his veto pen.

 

The budget writing committee made changes in the requirements for agencies writing budgets – requiring more information be sent to the legislature on budget options. Lawmakers also set executive restrictions on short-term debt. The use of this type of debt (known as ‘commercial paper’) has long been unrestricted by lawmakers and invisible to the public.

 

The governor vetoed both of these common sense budget oversight provisions.

Dumpster fire budget passes somewhat intact - 11 Republicans just say "no"

Its been fun, I think

SO that happened. The budget got passed. Although in some ways it's a little less egregious than what the governor initally proposed, it's still a "crap budget" as described by at least one Republican legislator. If you want to see a quck rundown of what is going to affect your life in the budget, there's a story at the Star Tribune (and why I keep ending up reading the Minnesota papers to get Wisconsin news is another question). 

Let's just say that a lot of bad policy got passed. And I mean bad policy more than bad budget items. This budget holds what is perhaps a record-breaking amount of state policy.  What ever happened to laws?  You remember laws, don't you?  Those things that the legislators are supposed to pass?  It's become so much easier in the world where Republicans control everything to just put all the goodies into the budget and then kick back to enjoy the next year and a half till the next legislative budget-making session occurs. 

Representative Lisa Subeck Statement on Assembly Passage of Republican Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: July 9, 2015

CONTACT: Zach Madden, 608-266-7521(office) 920-627-5773 (cell)

 

Representative Lisa Subeck Statement on Assembly Passage of Republican Budget

 

MADISON – Representative Lisa Subeck (D-78) released the following statement in response to passage of SB 21, the 2015-2017 budget bill, by the State Assembly.

 

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