Lawmakers Disagree On Value Of New Wisconsin Budget
WISCONSINREPORT.COM (07/09/2015) – The Wisconsin Assembly approved the 2015-17 State Budget today. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says its a solid budget that continues to reform Wisconsin and move the state forward. Meanwhile Assembly Democrats Leader Peter Barca says it is the worst budget he has ever seen and will harm Wisconsin mightily.
“The Republican legislature took Governor Walker’s historically harmful budget and made it even worse,” Barca (D-Kenosha) says.
“This budget started and ended with accomplishing two primary goals: paying back the out-of-state special interests that spend money on Republican campaigns and helping Governor Walker pander to far-right presidential primary voters”, Barca said.
Prior to passage of the controversial budget Governor Scott Walker has spent several months acting more like an unannounced candidate for President of the United States than he has fulfilling his duties as Governor of the Badger State. Barca and other Democrats are concerned that, Governor Walker has been using the budget process in an effort to to persuade Republican Primary voters in other states that Walker would make a sound choice over more than a dozen other GOP hopefuls.
“There is no part of what makes Wisconsin great that goes unharmed with this budget”, Assembly Democrats Leader Peter Barca said.
“It’s time for Republicans to take responsibility for creating this budget disaster with their extreme mismanagement of our state’s finances over the past four and a half years”, Barca insists.
On the other hand, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos points to several things he believes are good for the state:
“The new two-year spending plan increases aid to K-12 schools, freezes UW tuition, fully funds SeniorCare and freezes property taxes. This budget is good for Wisconsin and its taxpayers”, Vos says.
“This conservative budget simplifies the tax code and reduces the marriage penalty on state tax returns”, according to Vos. “It has no new state income or sales taxes and eliminates the local prevailing wage requirements for government construction projects”, Speaker Vos explained.
“This budget also assists the most vulnerable populations in our state. It protects our long-term care programs like IRIS and FamilyCare and spends more than $1 billion on BadgerCare,” Vos said.
Democrats differ over the real, overall value of the Wisconsin budget just finalized.
“My Democratic colleagues who have heard from citizens from across the state have told us how damaging this Republican budget is to their livelihoods and their communities, so we offered many amendments that were true to Wisconsin values”, Barca noted.
“Unfortunately every Democratic amendment was rejected – nearly every one on a party-line vote, as Republicans passed up every opportunity to make this budget better,” Barca said.
State Assembly Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), who is co-chair of the budget writing Joint Finance Committee, defends the budget. He pointed out several aspects of the budget he considers positive for the state.
Republicans are defending the state budget that came from Governor Walker and approved by GOP lawmakers and often paint it as being good for education. However, education has a different viewpoint.
Upon passage of the state budget by the Wisconsin Assembly, which clears the way for the governor to sign it into law, teacher Betsy Kippers, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, stated, “Lawmakers have passed a state budget that will result in layoffs, program eliminations and fewer opportunities for students.
“Politicians may be hoping nobody back home will notice, but this education budget is too bad to ignore,” WEAC President Betsy Kippers said.
“Hundreds of thousands of neighborhood public school students get the equivalent to a lump of coal while unaccountable private schools get a blank check to take taxpayers’ dollars, all wrapped up with a big red bow”, Kippers continued.
“When it comes to the damage this inflicts on students, the list is long and nauseating. The bottom line is that Wisconsin lawmakers have put their own political ambitions ahead of students”, WEAC’s Kippers said.
Even though Democrats in the State Legislature preferred that the budget would be better, Democrat Assembly Leader Peter Barca asserts they will continue to stand against Governor Walker and Republican Lawmakers to make Republicans realize the state government must govern everyone in the state, not just act on behalf of GOP interests.
“Democrats will continue to stand up for the people of Wisconsin and the values we’ve held dear for generations,” Assembly Democrats Leader Peter Barca says. Those values include “quality public education, a world-class university system, economic development and quality infrastructure, and standing up to improve the livelihoods and quality of life of Wisconsin’s hardworking middle-class families.”
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