MADISON – After three full days of agency budget briefings before the Joint Finance Committee, Wisconsinites across the state were left wondering: where are Governor Walker’s priorities? Following the conclusion of testimony today, ranking Democrat on the committee, Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement:
“What is abundantly clear after hearing from top Walker officials is that his budget does not have the people of Wisconsin as a priority. Instead of investing in the crisis areas our state is facing and growing our economy, this administration has regressed to failed policies of borrowing and cutting. The last three days are a testament to the void in leadership, as well as how completely out of touch the Governor is with the real needs of our state.”
“Today’s hearing provided countless examples of the misguided and unfair policies that Walker’s budget proposes. Secretary Anderson of the Department of Children and Families defended drug testing for individuals who apply for unemployment benefits, and steering foster kids away from pursuing educational success by requiring employment. These are not compassionate policies that will help Wisconsinites pull themselves up and pursue a prosperous life.”
“What I heard from the heads of Walker’s departments was that they are comfortable with the status quo. Unfortunately, the people of Wisconsin are not comfortable. The people of Wisconsin are hurting. Our education system is facing historic cuts, health care for senior citizens and low income families is being threatened, wages remain stagnant and unemployment is sky high in minority communities, and costs for corrections continues to rise as we continue the cycle of punishment and penalties. Walker is making a conscious choice to ignore these crises.”
“The responses we received this week on why this budget fails to address the needs of Wisconsinites was either: ‘it is not a priority of the Governor,’ or ‘we don’t have the money.’ Fact is, this administration doesn’t have the money because of four years of backwards policies which has failed to help put Wisconsin on a path to success.”
Public hearings on the Governor’s budget will begin on March 18th in Brillion. Democrats, recognizing the GOP’s determination to limit public input on this budget, will hold extra hearings around the state.