July 17, 2007

The Republican Budget

By Senator Lena C. Taylor

Last week the Republican-lead State Assembly passed a budget that takes a big step backwards for Wisconsin.  Their slash and burn budget abandons working families by cutting funds for public safety, health care, education and job training, and strips nearly $30 Million dollars from Milwaukee.  When asked about these cuts, a prominent Republican replied: “Milwaukee will survive.”  That is hardly the type of support our community needs in these times of crisis.

Education

Assembly Republicans cut over $14 million for the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), eliminated funding for our school safety plan, cut $15 million for the successful MPS Math Initiative, abandoned the chapter 220 program, and radically expanded the school voucher program.

Health Care

Assembly Republicans have no health care plan, and they oppose expanding coverage for working families. They eliminated Gov. Doyle’s BadgerCare Plus expansion, which would ensure that 98% of families in Wisconsin have access to healthcare.

Assembly Republicans eliminated funding for dental care, HIV/AIDS treatment, infant mortality prevention, and domestic abuse services and foster care. Sadly, they also eliminated the FamilyCare expansion, which provides care to the elderly and people with disabilities.

Additionally, Assembly Republicans eliminated the Senate Democrat “Healthy Wisconsin” plan, which would provide everyone in Wisconsin with the same great health care we have as a legislators.

Child Care & Job Training

Assembly Republicans threw out a bipartisan plan to fully the Wisconsin Shares child care program. Instead, their plan implements devastating cuts in services and massive increases in fees, hurting working families. Additionally, Assembly Republicans carelessly cut funding for job training and youth summer job programs.

Justice

For years the Republicans have been complaining about a lack of support for safety and policy services.  Yet when it came time to put their money where their mouths are, they fell flat.  They eliminated millions of dollars for new police officers, alcohol and drug treatment programs, community corrections, and other programs vital to our justice system.  They also drastically cut court funding, and eliminated corrections officers that help keep our communities safe.

As you can see, the Assembly Republican budget is a roadmap to disaster for Wisconsin. It abandons our commitments to the children and families of this state.  Further, it abandons principles that even the Republicans agree with: Safety, justice, and responsible government.  As the budget process moves into a conference committee, I hope that the leadership on both sides will tear up this ridiculous document that the Assembly has created, and craft a budget that truly represents Wisconsin’s values.