The World Turned Upside Down


Much to say and analyze as the Wisconsin state budget moves into this final (and public for a change) phase, but little or no time right now.  Stay tuned and follow the developments on the WisPolitics Budget Blog.

For now I just want to quote the introduction to the memo issued by Rep. Mark Pocan. Rep. Mary Hubler and Speaker Mike Sheridan “defending” the  product of  their closed door deals and note that things seem to have shifted 180 degrees when Democrats begin by boasting about how much they have cut in essential government services.

Deepest spending cuts in Wisconsin history.

  • Contains more than $3 billion in spending cuts – the deepest in Wisconsin history.
  • Features 2.5% or $718.7 million in cuts in spending of state tax dollars. Assembly Republicans increased spending of state tax money by 74% during their 14-year majority.
  • Implements 6.1% across-the-board agency spending cuts.
  • GOP claims that the budget increases spending by as much as 6.8% are bogus.The figure is a distortion caused by the one-time influx of federal stimulus dollars.  These dollars are being used to repair our roads, train our workers and fix our schools, but they are being disbursed through state agencies and departments, making it appear as though state spending is up when it really isn’t.
  • Democrats lead by example and shared the sacrifice:  The Legislature moved early to cut $500,000 from its operating budget. When the deficit intensified in May due to the national economic crisis, the Assembly made more cuts, bringing the total amount slashed to $1.4 million – for a 6% total reduction. 
  • State legislators voluntarily froze pay until 2011, and implemented furloughs of State employees.

Strange and disturbing times.

I can’t help but think of Howard Dean’s phrase “I belong to the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”  It is feeling like a lonely place in Wisconsin right now.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under "education finance", Budget, finance, Local News, Uncategorized

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