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Koch Brothers, WMC Back Bill Gutting Civil Service PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 22 January 2016 14:51

conference-roomMADISON - The state Senate approved and sent to the governor a bill on Wednesday that changes the longtime hiring process for 30,000 public sector jobs. The measure was backed by powerful business and conservative ideological groups that have spent millions of dollars since 2011 to help Republican lawmakers, who control the legislature, and GOP Gov. Scott Walker keep their jobs.

The measure, Assembly Bill 373, overhauls the state’s 110-year-old civil service hiring process by eliminating the requirement that job applicants take exams; shortening the process used by employees to appeal their discipline or dismissal by more than half; and prohibiting senior employees from avoiding termination by bumping less-senior workers from their jobs.

AB373, which was approved on a party line 19 to 14 vote in the Senate, was passed in October by the Assembly, and now goes to Walker, who supports it, for his signature.

Backers of the bill say the civil service process needed to be changed because it takes too long to hire and fire people. Opponents of the measure say the changes will hurt the quality of the state’s workforce by bringing political patronage and corruption back into the hiring of public employees.

The special interests behind the bill are generous backers of Republican legislators and Walker.

AB373 is backed by the state’s largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative ideological group created and funded bybillionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 January 2016 16:26
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Wisconsin Budget Lags as Republicans Neglect People's Priorities PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64   
Thursday, 21 January 2016 15:57

peter_barcaMADISON – Today, I must response to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau revenue report that showed Wisconsin is expected to take in $158 million less in revenue.

Ordinary Wisconsinites and their communities continue to suffer from the Republicans' neglect – including the Republicans' extremely damaging budget and their inaction on our major challenges.

While Gov. Walker and Republicans tried to paint a rosy picture of Wisconsin’s economy and finances, the truth is that families and communities throughout the state face major hardships.

As Republicans continue to stack the deck against ordinary Wisconsinites and obscure their harmful agenda with election-year distractions, Democrats are focused on leveling the playing field and rebuilding the middle class the Republican agenda has hurt so deeply.

The first step toward improving our state’s finances is accepting federal BadgerCare funds to provide health care to roughly 80,000 Wisconsinites at a savings of more than $300 million to taxpayers over the next two years.

 
State of the State - 'we need solutions, not sound bites' PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District   
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 10:59

2015-budgetMADISON – Over the last five years, we’ve seen deep cuts that have limited economic growth, stifled innovation and denied thousands of families the opportunity to get ahead. Democrats continue to believe that the best way to move our state forward is by restoring investments in our schools, infrastructure and worker training programs. 

When it comes to the challenges facing our state, we need solutions, not sound bites. Placing more students in unpaid internships isn’t going to help the nearly one million Wisconsinites burdened by $19 billion in student loan debt. It’s time to follow the lead of other states like Minnesota and allow families to refinance their student debt at a lower interest rate just like you can with home and auto loans.

Democrats remain committed to creating a childcare tax credit for working families, supporting new jobs through infrastructure investments and expanding retirement security options for hardworking residents. With Gov. Walker’s presidential bid behind us, it’s time to look forward at ways we can improve our state and rebuild our middle class.

MEDIA NOTE: State of the State video responses from Sen. Shilling and other Democratic caucus members can be viewed and downloaded at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/democrats/videoreleases.

 
State of the State - 'on jobs ... more of the lack of accountability' PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Dana Wachs, State Rep. 91st Assembly   
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 10:57

joblessMADISON - After the recent stories of jobs leaving Wisconsin, I had really hoped that Governor Walker would present a bold plan to keep jobs here and attract new businesses to Wisconsin. Sadly, however, we heard more of the lack of accountability and irresponsible priorities that have become the cornerstone of his administration.

Last week, General Electric announced that they will be moving from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston. They are making this move because Boston is a hub of higher education and, consequently, research. We too need to invest in our universities and technical colleges if we want to see innovative business development and job creation in Wisconsin.

If the state of our state is truly going to be strong, we need to work together and invest in priorities that will create long-term economic success. My Democratic colleagues and I will continue to put forward common sense proposals that will reinvest in education and demonstrate a clear vision for Wisconsin’s future. We must shift the balance of power from the wealthy corporate campaign donors back to the people of Wisconsin.

 
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