Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wisconsin Senate Republicans Pass Radical Budget Without Change

Late tonight, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate voted to pass the radical far-right budget passed by the Assembly Republicans very early this morning without change. As a Republican act of class warfare, the budget actually increases spending over the previous year, while taking millions in tax breaks from the middle-class and poor and giving them to corporations instead. All 8 amendments offered by the Democrats were rejected, and thus none of the Democrats voted for the budget.

The Democrats offered an amendment that would have restored collective bargaining rights to all workers in Wisconsin, not just employees of corporations. However, all of the Senate Republicans voted to reject the amendment and keep those rights out of the reach of most of our public workers, even though we know stripping those rights "doesn't save any" money.

Some of the changes that the Democrats tried to make in both the Assembly and Senate:
  • Increase investment in Wisconsin businesses through the Wisconsin Growth Fund
  • Remove all WiscNet wording from the budget
  • Remove tax increases on the poor and middle-class by removing the changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Homestead Credit
  • Remove the $50 reduction in unemployment benefits
  • Remove changes to child labor laws that allow employers to make children work more hours during school (more than 40 if they're over 16)
  • Increase public school funding by $365 million and remove expansion of the choice program
  • Restore funding for gifted and talented programs and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grants
  • Fund the Wisconsin GI Bill and increase financial aid when tuition increases
  • Require the state to continue operating the SeniorCare program
  • Remove the enrollment cap on the FamilyCare program
  • Prohibit the administration from making changes to BadgerCare without legislative approval
  • Restore funding for services such as fire, police and garbage collection
  • Remove the significant weakening of rules on payday loans that also allow auto title loans in Wisconsin again
  • Restore funding for recycling

None of these changes were accepted. No changes were accepted. There was absolutely no collaboration or compromise from the Republicans.

Thanks to WisPolitics Budget Blog for detailing much of this information! (Senate Democrat Amendments 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 - collective bargaining)

The Republicans aren't as fearful of the recall elections, because they've now passed just about every far-right and corporate wishlist item from the past 50 years. Let's make sure the Republicans get what's coming to them, and vote in the July 12 and 19 recall elections (if they're in your district).

Unfortunately, far fewer people have been showing up to protest all of these radical changes than showed up during ice and snow to protest. As Governor Walker signs the budget, we could really use one last massive protest to show the Republicans just how much Wisconsin is against their far-right ideals.

I'm putting my voice in for a protest this Saturday that we all must attend!

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