Thursday August 17, 2017

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Property Taxpayer Costs Triple Under GOP Voucher Plan PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Joint Finance Committee Democrats   
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 09:50

school-closedBudget proposal sticks local taxpayers with the tab for expanded program.

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Steps Toward the Future of Health Care PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 25 July 2017 14:16

health-care-costsSen. Vinehout writes about the introduction of her Badger Health Benefit Authority bill to create a state health marketplace. She shares how Wisconsin can do better for serving all with affordable and accessible health care.

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Senate Republicans' Full Flip-Flop On The State Credit Card PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Friday, 21 July 2017 11:18

road-closed-delayGOP leadership, who strongly opposed borrowing money to pay for Wisconsin's roads, now back a plan to do just that by issuing $712 million in additional bonds.


MADISON - The state budget is more than two weeks overdue and Senate Republicans are getting desperate. After loudly opposing swiping the state's credit card for fixing our state's crumbling roads and bridges during the 2015-2017 budget process, Senate Republicans proposed borrowing $712 million over the next two years for roads. Even worse, nearly half of that figure would be paid back from accounts that fund schools and health care programs.

Wisconsin reporters caught on quickly to Senate Republicans misleading the public and flip-flopping on their promises:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Senate Republicans in Wisconsin reverse course and break out credit card for roads
"'We're not going to kick the can down the road,' Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) said in November 2015 when she and other Senate Republicans unsuccessfully tried to block issuing $350 million in bonds for I-39/90 and four other projects."

"But on Tuesday, Darling — the co-chairwoman of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee — joined her Senate colleagues in embracing a plan that would borrow $712 million over the next two years for roads. Nearly half of that amount would be paid back from the account that funds schools and health care programs instead of the transportation fund." 

[...]

"She's not the only one to have a change of heart." 
"When he sided with Darling to vote against additional borrowing in 2015, Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) issued a statement that said, 'I do not believe we should be going further into debt when we haven’t created any new sources of revenue to make the payments on this new debt.'"

"On Tuesday, Marklein appeared at a Capitol news conference with Darling and other GOP senators to announce their budget plan that includes the $712 million in borrowing for roads." 

Wisconsin State Journal: With borrowing-heavy road plan, state Senate GOP does stark turnaround
"Even the committee’s Senate vice chairman, Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, acknowledged the shift in a Wednesday interview.'It’s a little inconsistent with our past actions; you’re exactly right,' Olsen said."

"Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said Tuesday that he’s confused by the Senate’s “complete 180” on transportation borrowing.'The Senate seems to have completely reversed course,' Steineke said."

[...]


"Also in November 2015, another Republican on the committee, Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, told WJFW-TV that he was concerned by the state’s borrowing level for transportation.'We’re getting up to where we’re about 20 cents on the dollar that’s going to debt service now for transportation,' he said. 'That’s getting too high.'"

[...]

"Tiffany said last week that he now doesn’t believe new transportation revenues are needed in the next budget."

Associated Press: Senate Republicans Who Once Hated Borrowing Now Embrace It
"Senate Republicans who strongly opposed borrowing money to pay for Wisconsin's roads now back a plan to do just that by issuing $712 million in additional bonds, which has been a major obstacle to reaching a budget deal."

"Assembly Speaker Robin Vos emerged from a 90-minute meeting with Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on Wednesday saying that negotiations are continuing, but no deal had been reached. He also blasted Senate Republicans for supporting $712 million in borrowing for roads, saying putting that much on the state's credit card 'doesn't make any sense.' Senate Republicans used to agree."

 
Democrats Want Larger Voice in State Budget Proposal PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 08:29

senateRepublican 'solutions' offered Tuesday fail to meet the needs of hard-working families in communities across our state and it's time to welcome ideas from Democrats.


MADISON - The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning on the Senate budget proposal revealed Tuesday:

"Budgets are about priorities and the top priorities of Senate Republicans don't reflect the priorities of hard-working Wisconsin families who just want their roads fixed and their schools fully funded.

martha-laning"The proposal introduced today does not address the desperate needs of public schools today. Local public schools are the heart of our communities and we need to make sure we are retaining quality teachers, investing in modern facilities and meeting high educational standards to give students the best possible opportunity to get ahead.

"Great public schools don’t just lead to better outcomes and more opportunities for students - they are the heart of every local community and a key driving force for economic success. As Democrats, we know that a strong public education is the key to opening the doors of opportunity for millions of Americans.

"Republicans also proposed borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars in a short-sighted attempt to fill holes in the transportation budget. For years, Democrats have offered to work with Republicans interested in a long term solution to solve the current transportation funding crisis. Instead, they've proposed kicking the can down the road once again and add more debt for future generations.

"Wisconsin's roads and bridges have fallen deeper and deeper into disrepair because of the poor fiscal decisions Republicans have made. The time is now to make fixing our transportation infrastructure the focus. We need a serious upgrade to makes sure everyone lives a safe and prosperous life. In order for our economy to grow and for our citizens to have opportunities to succeed, now and in the future, we need sustainable, long-term solutions to our transportation funding crisis.

"The Republican 'solutions' offered today fail to prioritize the needs of hard-working families in communities across our state. Frankly, we can and we must do better. It's time for Republicans to welcome ideas from Democrats so that we can start working together to what is right for the people of Wisconsin."

 
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