Local Democrats speak against budget
Written by Nathan Vine, Stevens Point Journal Media
 
State Rep. Katrina Shankland says the purpose of Assembly Democrats refusing to offer amendments during this week’s state budget debate was to make a point.
 
“This is a budget that the Republican Party has crafted behind closed doors and without public comment, and we have taken it and laid it at their feet,” said Shankland, D-Stevens Point. “They are the ones who are going to have to explain it to everybody in this state.”
 
Shankla
nalong with Rep. Mandy Wright, D-Wausau, and Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, met with the Wausau Daily Herald Editorial Board on Friday to explain their opposition to the budget.
 
Shank
land also refuted charges that she and other local Democrats voted against Skyward, the Stevens Point-based education software company, by voting against the budget. The Joint Finance Committee had voted a multivendor student information system provision into the budget after originally voting for a single vendor system, a contract which Skyward had lost.
 
“I think people that know me know that I have been an active supporter of Skyward since the beginning, and I’m appreciative of the jobs they provide,” Shankland said. “I think it’s both convenient and sad that someone would take the opportunity to politicize a bipartisan issue.”
 
State Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, said Democrats tried to remove 100 nonfiscal policy items contained in the budget, which she said doesn’t do enough to address job creation in the state. She pointed out several provisions she opposed, including the sale of state property without competitive bidding and allowing bail bondsmen to operate in Wisconsin.
 
“In short, this budget puts extremist ideology ahead of Wisconsin’s middle class families,” Lassa said in a statement. “It does nothing about our state being 44th in the nation in job creation and our shrinking state economy.”
 
Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink, D-Milladore, added that the rejection of a federally funded expansion of the state’s BadgerCare program, which would have added 85,000 adults in the program, hurts every taxpayer.