Madison – The Joint Finance Committee met again today to ask questions of agency leaders regarding Governor Walker’s $2.2 billion deficit crisis budget. Senator Jon Erpenbach focused on Wisconsin taxpayer funds that Governor Walker has refused to capture, including $345 million from the Federal government for Medicaid.
Twenty eight states have taken their Federal taxpayer money and covered people in their state. Seven more are in discussions to accept the funds. Twelve of these states have Governors that are Republicans. How can we continue to justify giving our taxpayer money to other states when here in Wisconsin we face a $2.2 billion deficit? Maybe we should be “bold thinkers” for our taxpayers. It is honestly unbelievable given what we are doing in this budget to the university and to K-12 school children.” said Senator Erpenbach.
“We know that there are 26,000 people out there that used to have health insurance, and today we just don’t know if they do or not, because of Governor Walker’s decision on Federal funds. This plan is failing. Is it that he thinks these people don’t deserve the financial security of access to health insurance for their families? No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most people need medical care at some point. Health insurance covers these costs and offers many other important benefits. I believe families in Wisconsin deserve the security of health insurance for their families and I just don’t understand why Governor Walker does not agree,” said Erpenbach.
Erpenbach was also critical of new programs that are light on details and community support. He singled out the elimination of the IRIS program which will change self-directed care for physically and developmentally disabled individuals.
“It saves no money, it is not broken, so why are we making the decision to put the security of 50,000 citizens at risk. I just see in this budget Governor Walker making decisions that will significantly impact a community without any input or partnership from the people it affects the most,” said Erpenbach.
Joint Finance Committee members heard testimony and asked questions from the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Workforce Development, University of Wisconsin System, Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Health Services. The last agency briefing commences tomorrow.