I heard the state is close to "balancing" our state $527 million budget deficit. Problem is, there are no real budget cuts, just plenty of bookkeeping tricks. Only 1/5th of 1% of the total budget is considered a cut.
One of the areas of bookkeeping magic (or cooking) that really makes me see red is the hijacking of $22 million from Federal Real ID into state budget coffers. Congressman Sensenbrenner doesn't like it either. "The law authored by Sensenbrenner is designed to create a more secure identification card in all 50 states. A $10 fee was placed on Wisconsin driver's licenses starting this year to start paying for it." The state is raiding this fund.
Another budget trick is to delay the $125 million payment of state aid to schools into the next budget session. Much like someone running a little short on funds one month delaying their mortgage payment into their next payday cycle, the state is looking at postponing their yearly obligation into the next budget cycle. This solves nothing and creates a big problem for next time.
One good piece of the budget deal is that the hospital tax is not part of the fix.
Without cutting spending and programs, all this fix does is delay the pain. I am not the only one annoyed by our legislature's failure to cut spending. Take a look at an email one reader fired off to their representatives:
Vote NO on BUDGET FIX
I continue to be really angry with the actions of our State legislators and their failure to cut spending in WI. The taxpayers wallet is almost empty. I urge you to vote NO on the budget fix, to work TO CUT SPENDING, to take the provision out of the bill that would allow municipalities to tax assisted living and nursing homes, DO NOT take federally mandated monies and use them for something else, PUSH FOR
VOTER ID, ignore pressure from special interest groups and listen to your constituency.
How you or anyone else in Madison can justify the huge budget shortfall without cutting spending is beyond me.
I am 58 years old and our family is seriously considering leaving WI when we retire. Honestly, with the actions of the legislature and Gov. Doyle we may be forced to leave sooner ... I can't afford to live here much longer.
And this is an email sent to Rep. Huebsch, Assembly Speaker
Mike Huebsch -- CUT SPENDING, VOTE NO on the Budget Fix, PUSH for Voter ID, PUSH to take out the right of municipalities to tax nursing homes and assisted living facilities, do not take federally mandated monies and use them for something else. I think you are the most ineffective leader the Republicans have ever put in power. I no longer will support the Republican Party in WI because of your liberal views and ineffectiveness in striking a compromise with the Democrats. AGAIN the way to fix the budget shortfall is not to rob money from other programs BUT TO CUT SPENDING. [Previous email included.]
Contact your representatives! They will be voting today and in near future.
Senate votes today:
State Senator Jim Sullivan, Democrat, 5th District
Sen.Sullivan@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-2512, 866-817-6061
State Senator Theodore Kanavas, Republican, 33rd District
Sen.Kanavas@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-9174, 800-863-8883
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (Senate Minority Leader), from Juneau. Counties: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, and Waukesha
State Representative Leah Vukmir, Republican, 14th District
Representative Rich Zipperer, Republican, 98th District
Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald (Assembly Majority Leader), from Horicon. Counties: Columbia and Dodge,
Rep. Michael Huebsch (Assembly Speaker), from West Salem. Counties: LaCrosse and Monroe,
Rep.Huebsch@legis.wisconsin.gov 608- 266-3387
Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, Vicki Mckenna