What. A. Pile.
Given time constraints I have at the moment, and the fact that I am cranky as all f**k, I won’t write very much about how the Wisconsin taxpayer was fleeced, insulted, and abused yesterday and early this morning by Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee.
Today I’m not dwelling much on the fact that Walker is going to absolutely bury us in debt by building roads we don’t need. And that he’s going to sell and/or LEASE off our state assets to pay for that.
This post is on the recent stuff.
UPDATE: Here’s the Omnibus Motion if you’d like to read every line through for yourself.
Update: Watch the almost 7 hours of the meeting, broken up into 4 parts, at WISEYE.
– Adjourning for Over Seven Hours While The Public Waited
A roomful of citizens and press from around the state was forced to dawdle in the Capitol for at least 7 hours while the Joint Finance Committee was busy twisting each others arms’ to work out how they would screw the state over.
The committee then did not reconvene until 1AM. Since I was at home and I fell asleep, from what I can conclude, they gaveled to a close at around 4AM.
Below are a sampling of tweets from the evening.
– Rejecting Medicaid from Obamacare – Wind Up Spending $490 million More from General Fund
I’ll direct you to Jon Peacock for details. My take on it is Wisconsin can’t accept federal money for healthcare because it has Obama cooties and thus it is that John Q. Dairyland Taxpayer has to spend about half a billion out of this state’s taxes and deny more people healthcare in the process. Incidentally, the hospitals got more tax money from We The Taxpayer at the last minute to address their costs in the emergency rooms when all those poor people show up half dead.
Which begs the question “Will you get access to that emergency room when YOU need it?” Seriously. How much can we rely on emergency rooms? They are supposed to be for EMERGENCIES.
– The Center for Investigative Journalism would not be allowed to use state facilities in future.
Response to JFC budget amendment regarding SJMC and WCIJ
from Greg Downey at UW Madison School of Journalism
This is an action just dripping with petty, authoritarian retribution. Many of us first got to know this organization when long-time investigative writer and founder of the Sheperd Express Bill Lueders switched from working to Isthmus to working there. I’ve occasionally found it within me to slam an article or two there [particularly a frac sand piece seemingly designed to suck-up to the industry] so it’s acknowledged they aren’t walking on water, but overall, the outfit does essential work that we all should value. Especially NOW.
– Statewide Voucher Program
“A new voucher program would become available to all students outside Milwaukee and Racine. It would be limited to 500 students the first year and 1,000 students every year thereafter. Walker wanted no limits on the number of students in the program after the second year.”
Expect that to be the foot in the door that leads to privatization of public education – – that is unless you can do a lot of organizing in the next couple of years to outpace what churches do. (Not to mention you’ll need to thwart all the propagandizing paid for by the DeVos family.)
And there is ALSO a tax credit that individual families can get for sending a kid to private school. This is something the Catholic church lobbied for.
Your public tax dollars will go to religious instruction.
(Do we even get complimentary genuine commemorative crucifixes to wear for bending over this hard? Sorry to my deeply religious friends but…. come on.)
WEAC has more details on vouchers HERE.
If I weren’t so tired, I’d see how WEAC’s version compares against Jason Stein’s in M.J.Sentinel but …. Arghh.
“All-night session ends at dawn with approval of GOP budget plan”
– Bump Up in Income Tax Cuts
Rep. Kooyenga’s kooky income tax cuts for the wealthy got moderated a little. He had earlier proposed an additional $450 mill. in tax cuts. Since the total cut is now $651, and that includes Walker’s cuts, Kooyenga added about $300 mill.
Based on the official lingo Robin Vos tosses around, the operating theory is that keeping more $ in the hands of the wealthy here will magically make jobs. How maddening to see ‘trickle down’ theory brazenly used as to reward the GOP’s contributors. It’s really not going to trickle down. It just trickles up.
– DNA Sample Tweaking
Since DNA collection at arrest, in the eyes of many a civil libertarian [this blogger included], a violation of the 4th amendment, I would like to know more about how this provision was tweaked. But since the Supreme Ct. sided with DNA collection in a case very recently, frankly, the Wisconsin justice system has us where it wants us. If this provision was modified it was only to satisfy Walker’s fringe always-anti-government right-wing base.
From the WisPolitics Budget Blog
“Other provisions include:
-a tweak to the DNA collection provision already approved by the committee to limit when the samples could be analyzed or forwarded to the DOJ.
-overhaul the pay progression provision for prosecutors.
-order the DOA secretary to eliminate 450 executive branch positions during the biennium.
-establish the Lake Michigan shoreline in the city of Milwaukee.
-provide $2 million for an aircraft maintenance and repair company grant program administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
-create a definition for default for a payday loan that would allow payday lenders to collect after a debt is outstanding for 10 days rather than the 40 days under current law.
-repeal current law that prohibits cable companies from disconnecting a subscriber’s service for failure to pay a bill until the bill it at least 45 days old.
-revise the guv’s plan to move mass transit aid to the general fund from the transportation fund. The provision would keep the aid in the transportation fund, but it would also transfer $107.5 in GPR on a one-time basis to the transportation fund.
-boost general transportation aids for counties and municipalities.
-increase the transfer from the general fund to the transportation fund in teh first year of the biennium by $4.1 million to $25.7 million.
-require the costs to relocate utility lines for an urban train to be covered by a municipality rather than the utility.”
“I have two teenagers and I tell them that nothing good happens after midnight. That’s even more true in politics.” – Scott Walker