March 30th, 2011



Power Grabs for East Wing; Walker Denies Transparency of No-Bid Contracts

(MADISON)  For a second straight day, Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee), Senate Ranking Member of the Joint Committee on Finance, and fellow Democrats exposed more irresponsible budget moves by the Walker Administration.  The committee took agency testimony from the Government Accountability Board, and the Departments of Corrections and Children & Families, and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.  In today’s testimony tax raises, job cuts, and administration power grabs came to light in the committee. 

“The lying has to stop!  It is absolutely ridiculous for DOA Secretary Huebsch to sit here yesterday and say that taxes are not raised, when today’s briefing on DCF clearly shows that they are!”  Taylor exclaimed.  “This budget raises taxes on working people while giving tax breaks to the upper class in Wisconsin.  Adding injury to insult, the Governor eliminates the transitional jobs program that puts people to work in Wisconsin.  Raising taxes and cutting jobs is not a good sign for Wisconsin in Walker’s budget.”

The budget hearings today showed that the Walker budget:

  • Raises taxes on working families through the $41 million dollar raid on the Earned Income Tax Credit fund (LFB Summary, page 184, item 4 & page 107, item 14)
  • Eliminates the effective Transitional Jobs Demonstration Project which will cut 2000 jobs and drive these people to the unemployment rolls. (LFB Summary, page 102, item 6)
  • Eliminates over 340 full time jobs in the Department of Corrections (LFB Summary, page 141, agency summary)
  • Allows the Secretary of DCF to make any changes to the WisconsinShares program without legislative oversight.  Providers could have rate reimbursements adjusted or copayments increased without legislative input. (LFB Summary, page 102, item 7)
  • Budget denies the funding request of GAB to expand contract sunshine reporting .  This is more egregious when coupled with the expansion of no-bid contracts , and the governor’s veto power on administrative rules.  (DOA Executive Budget, page 224, item 11; LFB Summary, page 30, item 2; 2011 SS SB 8)

“This is only day two of the budget work in Wisconsin and I expect that the bad news for Wisconsin will continue to come to light.”  Taylor concluded.  “Scott Walker’s attack on education, our foundation for the future, will be highlighted.  I call on citizens to get engaged in this budget process and let the Republicans know that Walker’s budget should be scrapped.”

The Joint Committee on Finance takes testimony on education funding for K-12, technical colleges, and universities tomorrow.  Public hearings begin next Thursday with extra hearings by the Democrats to encourage citizen participation.

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