MADISON – Today, top Walker administration officials began the first round of agency budget briefings before the 16-member Committee on Joint Finance. Clearly frustrated, Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), ranking Democrat, started the day with a round of blistering questions to Mike Huebsch, exiting Secretary of the Department of Administration. Reminded of the time limits imposed on legislators, Taylor later said “Ten minutes is not enough time to get questions answered on this budget, which creates more problems than it solves. These new rules mean that the voices of the people of Wisconsin are silenced, and their questions remained unanswered.”
“Wisconsin's staggering $2.2 billion budget deficit is a self-inflicted wound caused by failed policies and a distracted Governor” Taylor offered. While listening to shortsighted policies that did little to help working class families, eliminate disparities in education, employment and incarceration, Taylor repeatedly asked department heads how this budget addressed those needs.
The Departments of Administration, Justice, Corrections and the Supreme Court engaged members on a variety of issues that included elimination of the Judicial Council, community corrections, and suing the EPA. Taylor and her three Democratic colleagues pressed agency leaders about misguided Republican policies that favor the wealthy over the middle class, staffing reductions, and raises, totaling nearly $84,000 a year, for the ten state troopers in charge of Walker’s security detail.
”While other states are putting families back to work and seeing their budget surpluses grow, Wisconsin is facing more layoffs and a deeper budget hole. As Gov. Walker continues to travel across the country, punting on the taxpayers' dime, legislative Democrats are ready to get to work to find fiscally responsible alternatives to the mess Walker has made”, Taylor observed.