I wanted to write about this piece of crap budget that the GOP is delivering to the Assembly today in Madison. I wanted to give you the main talking points and tell you about the biggest disappointments. However, that has been done. Good examples can be found at Root River Siren and, believe it or not, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

So, I have decided to share with you some of the words on Facebook from our Assembly Democrats as they waited many hours for the Tea Bagged members to emerge from their cave of secrecy and payoffs.

Today our Assembly Dems will be fighting against  that which I consider to be economic and societal rape. With the GOP in complete control, these Dems will be playing tug-of-war with a broken rope. They know what they are up against, yet they will continue to stand up and fight to the end for our best interests. I do not envy them, but I do appreciate them.

In their words….

Mandela Barnes – 

Today we heard more than a few misleading statements about the state budget when the Speaker addressed the Assembly. To add to the unfortunate rhetoric, we have not yet begun to debate the flawed document that remains in front of us. We are currently in recess, until tomorrow.

– A decent budget ensures vast public transportation.

– A decent budget has a tax plan that contributes to growing the local economy, rather than higher income luxury.

– A decent budget prioritizes strong public education.

– A decent budget expands options for non-violent offenders rather than drain taxpayers for warehousing costs.

-A decent budget creates a platform for job creation.

These are only a few things to grow Wisconsin, and put us in the right direction. Regrettably, this is an indecent budget.


Dianne Hesselbein – 

There are at least 30 NEW Republican amendments that are being introduced today in the budget. There was no public hearing. There wasn’t any debate in the Joint Finance Committee. This was a secret deal behind closed doors by elite members of the Republican caucus. Wisconsin deserves better.


Sandy Pasch – 

Wisconsin Republicans would be wise to spend less time intruding on Wisconsin women’s personal business and more time doing the people’s business. They absolutely must fix their budget, which will only hurt Wisconsin women and their families, by making changes that actually put public schools, health care coverage, and tax fairness before purely politically-based policies.


Mandy Wright – 

After waiting all day for the Republican ‘technical’ Amendment, we are just learning about 27 amendments that are clearly back room deals we and YOU have never heard of before. One is unlimited expansion of vouchers in Racine: estimated cost is $5,273,600. That’s a big technicality.

As you learn about these drastic last minute changes to our state budget, keep in mind that Republicans have held complete control of all three branches of the legislature for the past six months. But they can’t be open about their policies? Beyond statewide voucher expansion, defunding Badgercare, income tax cuts for the wealthy that increase our structural deficit to $546, what are they trying to slide by???


Terese Berceau – 

Waited all day for a supposed technical amendment from the Republicans and now we’re in recess until tomorrow. Clearly it’s not technical but substantive….and they don’t have their act together despite one party control. It is clear that there’s disarray and disagreement amongst Assembly Republicans…and probably disagreements with Republican senators as well.


Fred Clark –

I won’t be voting for the Wisconsin State Budget this week unless we adopt major changes. This budget is terrible for our schools and our school children, it’s bad for our communities, and it would be bad for the health of thousands of our citizens. Fundamentally, this budget does not reflect Wisconsin values. We’ll begin debating the budget today in the Assembly.


LaTonya Johnson – 

The State Budget being debated today in the Assembly is based on faulty assumptions of economic growth and job creation. This will leave an even greater deficit than the $500 million shortfall projected by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau in 2015-17. Now is not the time to pass a fiscally irresponsible tax cut that primarily benefits the wealthy, and will permanently reduce revenue for essential public services.


Andy Jorgensen – 

One of the most frustrating things about this ongoing Republican delay is that the clock is ticking. Majority Leader Suder has said, firmly, that by 5:30 p.m. today, the Assembly session will be over. Every minute they spend on their backroom deal is a minute we cannot debate the plan in public.

The Republican amendment (not technical) is different from the plan we were briefed on last night. We’re all reviewing this revised proposal, because we’re expected to vote on it momentarily.


Rob Kahl – 

The Assembly is now in session to take up the budget. Simply put, this budget is bad for Wisconsin. It doesn’t properly fund public education, yet it expands funding for private voucher schools. It doesn’t accept federal funds for BadgerCare, which will result in 85,000 fewer insured individuals in Wisconsin. And most importantly, this bill doesn’t help all the middle-class families in Wisconsin who are struggling to find jobs with living wages. Wisconsin deserves better!


Fred Kessler – 

I’m against the practice of inserting policy issues into the state budget. The budget we have before us today in the Assembly is full of issues that never reached the public for discussion; including the proposal to bring commercial bail bonding back to Wisconsin. Commercial bail bonding is so unpopular that all 47 Milwaukee judges and all 10 of the state’s chief judges are against it.


Debra Kolste – 

Very shortly the Assembly will be called into session to debate a 30-part “technical amendment’’ that was hatched in secret by the Republican majority and handed off to the Democrats for review late yesterday. Actually, we didn’t even get all of it to review, because the Republicans hadn’t completed their backroom deal soon enough to get it drafted.
Most of the amendment isn’t technical and much of it isn’t fiscal. None of it was subject to a public hearing. No debate was ever conducted on the 30 new items, except behind closed doors by elite members of the Republican caucus.

The amendment expands the voucher program yet again. It sets a date by which much of our right to challenge a permit for a high-capacity well will disappear. It exempts the next budget bill from requirements in the statutes regarding structural deficits, which is when estimated expenditures exceed estimated revenues in the second year of a budget.

There is much more, of course. A disreputable odor clings to the budget, which, even before the latest outrage was stuffed with a record number of non-fiscal measures. Then the Finance Committee created a statewide expansion of the voucher program, an idea that was never debated publicly before being rammed into the budget.

It is embarrassing. The argument that the Democrats did it too when they had the chance has lost most of its validity. I am not a student of Wisconsin legislative history, but I am fairly certain that the process for this budget breaks new ground and sets new lows.


Sondy Pope-Roberts – 

The actual JFC budget amendment, that we are voting on in 25 hours, just arrived at my office…all 1,395 pages. This is not how an open and honest government should operate.


Jon Richards – 

Instead of debating the budget yesterday as scheduled, Assembly Republicans wasted the day cooking up another backroom deal on an amendment that makes close to 30 substantial changes to the budget. Unfortunately, nothing in their mega-amendment gets us any closer to providing adequate funding for public schools, expanding access to affordable health care or providing targeted tax relief to middle-class families. The budget needs a substantial overhaul, but the latest deal Republicans struck with themselves still ignores Wisconsin’s most pressing problems and in some cases makes a bad budget even worse.


Daniel Riemer – 

Wisconsin statute 20.003(4m) requires that no bill may be passed by the Legislature if the estimated general fund expenditures exceed estimated revenues in the second year of any fiscal biennium.

One of the proposed Republican amendments states that 20.003(4m) would not apply to the 2013-2015 budget, where the estimated general fund expenditures exceed estimated revenues by $296 million in 2014-2015.

If we are serious about balancing budgets and avoiding structural deficits (which we should be!) let’s not exempt the $68 billion state budget from a state statute that helps Wisconsin balance budgets and avoid structural deficits.


Melissa Sargent – 

Today as the WI Assembly begins to debate the state budget I will remember each of the people I met as I ran for office – I will remember the very intimate conversations and life stories that we shared –

Healthcare for all

Quality public education at all levels

Protecting our environment and natural resources

Fair and balanced taxes

If we do this the jobs will come!



A bit of GOOD news!


Cory Mason – 

GOP removes controversial expansion of vouchers in Racine from their omnibus amendment.


Melissa Sargent – 

Changes to the Republican backroom budget amendment from last night into this morning:

The amendment no longer includes the Racine voucher provision, and additional efforts to expand and fund more vouchers, as well as the managed forest provision (meant to keep the public away from the mining site).



Keep watching, Wisconsinites. And remember this sneaky bullshit in 2014. Never forget.




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