Complied by Courier Staff
Governor Scott Walker delivered his proposed state budget in an address on Tuesday, March 1, and won over very few fans. Along with the growing objection to the ‘Budget Repair Bill’, Walker presented his proposed state budget plan, and like his repair bill, much objection is weighing in.
State Representative Sandy Pasch (D – Whitefish Bay) offered the following statements after Governor Walker’s budget address on Tuesday: “It was very fitting that Governor Walker gave his budget address as his administration continued to deny thousands of taxpayers access to the ‘People’s House.’ The actions we have witnessed over the past two weeks have made it remarkably clear that he and his allies want to make Wisconsin open for an assault on working families, our shared values, and our state’s proud history of good government.
“I look forward to reviewing specifics of Governor Walker’s budget proposal in greater detail over the coming days, as his address was short on details and big on bumpersticker rhetoric. However, it seems perfectly clear that he is aiming to balance our budget on the backs of schools, local governments, and some of our most vulnerable populations.
“While I believe we all can agree that shared sacrifice and tough decisions are necessary to move our great state forward, we must do so in a well-reasoned, evidencebased manner. In turn, I call upon Governor Walker and my Republican colleagues to work with Assembly Democrats in taking a better-measured approach to address the critical issues facing Wisconsin.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said that his first response to the proposed budget was, “Wow, he is really coming after local governments. This is ending a partnership that the city and the state has worked successfully together for years”. Barrett also stated during a morning interview with 1290 WMCS AM host Eric Von on Wednesday morning, that he understands that cuts across the board are necessary, but it is a slap in the face to where one’s priorities are when a $100 plus million dollar tax break is fi rst given to the wealthy.
“This budget is going to be devastating to local governments”, is a sentiment shared by most, from city government to state.
Barrett is also disturbed regarding the elimination of residency requirements for teachers, a move that will encourage teachers to move out of the city, and effects the tax base of the city tremendously.
One can conclude that the new governor is using his new power to point his budget assault pen directly at Milwaukee. Another proposed plan, ending the recycling partnership relationship with Milwaukee as well. How this will save the state’s budget and make a difference is puzzling to many as well.
Sen. Chris Larson (D- Milwaukee) said these radical cuts will be detrimental to communities statewide and will decrease our quality of life. He calls the plan, ‘A Land of Less Oportunity’.
“Wisconsin has a strong history of smart investments in the services that make our state a great place to live, work and raise a family,” said Larson. “Walker’s Wisconsin is a land of little opportunity.”
One of the most distressing provisions in Walker’s budget proposal is the more than $1.7 billion in cuts to education and local government. Sen. Larson believes this will make it nearly impossible for communities to fund crucial services including police and fire protection, transportation services and parks maintenance. These cuts will likewise drastically reduce the quality of Wisconsin’s schools.
“These devastating cuts will mean larger class sizes, fewer educational opportunities for our children including reductions in Advanced Placement courses, teacher lay-offs, and even school closures,” said Larson. “The governor’s budget is an all out assault on children attending our public schools.”
Health care programs in Wisconsin utilized by elderly, disabled, low-income and unemployed individuals will also face damaging cuts under Governor Walker’s budget.
“Governor Walker also seems committed to destroying our state’s health services safety net,” said Larson. “His secretary for the Department of Health Services even wrote that we should abolish Medicaid.”
Sen. Larson said his community is increasingly concerned with Walker’s misplaced priorities and the damage his agenda will have on the state of Wisconsin.
“Governor Walker’s second chapter is even worse than his first,” said Larson. “First he attacked working families, now he threatens the quality of life in our communities. The more details we get, the worse his story.”