Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wisconsin Assembly Republicans Increase State Spending With New Budget Passed To Senate

Another vote in the deep dark night. The Wisconsin Assembly Republicans voted for their budget just after 3:00am Thursday morning. All of the Democrats voted against it, and all of the nearly 40 amendments offered by the Democrats were rejected. The massive, oddly-named "simple amendment" by the Republicans was adopted without debate and without any Democrats voting in favor.

The Republicans' mantra this past year has been that spending is out of control. Rep. Dean Kaufert said just before voting for the budget, "We have been living on the credit card for a long time." Unfortunately, Kaufert and the rest of the Assembly Republicans just voted to increase our spending, as this budget spends more money than the previous Democrat budget. So, if not decreased spending, what are Republicans for?

It's very clear that the Republicans don't care about spending, at least not when it's for corporations. The Republican budget takes tax breaks for the middle-class and the poor and gives them to corporations. If the Republicans give any reason for this, it is that it will help create jobs, but their logic is flawed. One look at the stock market's performance since 2009, and you'll see that corporations aren't having any cash flow problems. The Federal government already gave them huge bailouts and tax breaks, and Governor Walker gave them a $117 million tax break within the first few weeks he was in office. A little extra cash won't motivate them to hire any more than they already aren't. Yet, real Wisconsin citizens depend upon the money that's being taken away from them. The Republicans are playing the part of Robin Hood's evil twin.

Rather than decreasing spending, the Republicans are more concerned with things such as making sure the poor have more abortions by reducing their access to contraceptives. The Republicans fought for nearly 30 minutes to cut state funding for Planned Parenthood. Contrary to what the Republicans think, the majority of Planned Parenthood's services are in preventative care and contraceptives, not abortion. In fact, abortions account for less than 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's services. The net effect of reducing contraceptives, more abortions!

The radical budget is a Republican act of class warfare, but not just via their redistribution of wealth through tax breaks. It significantly reduces funding to our public schools, while providing more funding to charter and voucher schools which are held to a lower standard. The reduction in funding to our public schools reduces access to high quality education for poor and middle-class children by condensing the reach of our high-quality schools to a few. The budget also reduces funds for healthcare to seniors and the poor, significant cuts to local government services such as police and fire, among a number of other far-right and corporate wishlist items.

I'm not the only Wisconsinite up this late with concern for my state and its people, and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca knows it, 
"The middle class is awake. They're angry. They don't like being treated in this fashion."

Don't forget The People vs. Scott Walker Capitol rally today at noon!

Thanks go out to the WisPolitics Budget Blog for staying up late and blogging nearly every detail of the last 12 hours!

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