Note if you’re looking for the big picture view of the entire budget, see Wisconsin Budget Project.
Wisconsin Assembly legislators ended their budget bill wrangling in record time today.
Peter Barca delivered a 40 minute speech this morning nicely explaining that the budget was a pile of unmitigated gall that made the state spend more money to insure fewer people while giving away over $2 billion in medicaid money. And destroying rural public schools. And allowing private bail bondsmen (universally slammed by conservative and liberal criminal justice professional alike). And shifting the tax burden onto the average worker while fattening the wallets of the richest.
Link to the session archived on wiseye which is worth watching for Barca and also the pathetic stammering replies of the GOP.
Then Rep. Barca called for a vote right away without unleashing amendments.
That was a jaw dropper given that I doubt that most Dems even got an opportunity to read a copy of the budget’s “technical amendment” that the GOP worked up in the middle of the night – though the Dems and the public did see some crib notes on it.
Usually the Dems play a game of Propose The Amendment and the Republicans play their little game in response which is called “NO. NO. NO.” [Any resemblance to the late Amy Winehouse’s actual addictions or song “Rehab” is purely intentional.]
The games usually go on for hours – perhaps into the evening – and in the end the GOP majority votes stay locked and the Dem amendments go in the trash.
Today’s turn of events has to come at great relief to journalists who not long ago were sentenced to over 7 hours of overnight waiting for the Joint Finance Committee to come back from their hiding places. ##
Here’s a recent facebook message from Rep. Debra Kolste of Janesville:
“The Assembly Republicans passed their shameful budget today without any votes from Democrats. Here the leaders are at their press conference, trying to defend the indefensible.”
“Republican Dean Kaufert said: “In order to get those good things we needed to accept some really questionable things.” The Democrats were told ahead of time that every amendment, every argument, every statement of fact would be ignored. So the Democrats declined to present amendments . We had our leader, Rep. Peter Barca speak about how absolutely backward this budget and this budget process have been. Then we allowed the Republicans to take their vote. We did the right thing. There was no point making our points to the Republicans who had promised to ignore them.
We’re going to take our message to the people.”
Speaking of taking messages somewhere, the SCFL AFL-CIO and others are sponsoring phonebanks right now in Madison and Milwaukee to get the word out on how bad this budget is. Got the gift of gab and some heart? Give it a go. You know they’ll feed you well and love ya lots for your generous offering of time at the phonebank.
If you would rather send an email or make that call yourself from your home and THAT IS IT – well that is better than nothing, folks.
Call or email your state senator. Here’s a link to his or her contact information.
Top messages to send, in my opinion, are a request to halt expansion of voucher schools and a plea for acceptance of the over $2 billion in federal Medicaid money.
Get right on it, though.
The State Senate takes up the bill tomorrow morning at 10AM CST.
Hey. That’s Not Brown Bag Government
In case you missed it, and it was easy to, the GOP offered an omnibus “technical amendment” chock a block with new things in the dead of the night. This was in there:
This language was also in an MJS article I read on the amendment but I didn’t give it a 2nd look until Root River Siren pointed it out and then *BLAMO*.
The Republicans are claiming they are not creating a structural deficit with this budget because their new budget eliminates that whole concept. It eliminates the requirement to balance the budget.
So. That’s how you make a $505 million dollar structural deficit disappear. HA HA HA!
This is logic that can only be illustrated by a cat and a watermelon similar to what you see pictured below. The loony cat and watermelon are adorable. Loony legislative manipulation on this level is decidedly NOT.
Representatives Marklein and Kestell switched from yes votes on the 2nd reading of the bill to no votes on the 3rd and final reading. Marklein is from the conniving “CPA caucus” which you may recall dissembled regarding the UW System’s funding, calling any rainy day funds ‘slush funds’ even if they were monies that were not fluid, such as federal grants. If all goes as planned, Marklein will run a primary against Senator Dale Schultz in 2014.
And There Are These Changes
Removed from Budget Amendment: Expansion of the Vouchers in Racine at a $5 million Pricetag [I called in to Peter Barca’s office to get the Racine info.]
Removed from Budget Amendment: Prohibition of Hikers Near Mine Site
You can watch the state senate proceedings live tomorrow at wiseye from any internet enabled computer that has silverlight installed. Or you can come on down to the Madison capitol.
My time writing this post is gone. G’day for now.
## Re. JFC NIGHT FROM HELL
An uncomfirmed rumor placed the AWOL JFC Republicans in the cigar fumes of Maduros on East Main Street during that evening.
See, they like to do things Romney-style, seeking quiet rooms to discuss tax policy and the like..
My write up on that technical amendment itself is at: “Tues. night budget amendment from WI GOP expands Racine vouchers, delays new wells, much more”
MORE social media – – MORE!:
Rep Kolste’s facebook page.