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Governor Walker's Budget Proposal Hits Wisconsin Education With Large Cuts

Governor Scott Walker introduced his budget bill to the Wisconsin legislature last week, and Rep. Ron Kind backs legislation to repair the Stillwater Lift Bridge.

On Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker introduced his budget bill, SB27 and AB40, to the Wisconsin legislature.

The budget bill calls for massive spending cuts, including a 9 percent cut in aid to schools, amounting to around $900 million in K-12 education cuts alone.

Cities face aid cuts as well, as $60 million, or around 8.8 percent of their yearly aid, will be cut under the legislation. Counties face cuts of around $36 million, or 24 percent.

Also, no cities or counties would be allowed to raise property taxes, unless it is to account for new construction.

The University of Wisconsin system would be hit hard with a $250 million cut; $125 million coming from UW-Madison alone.

Another proposed reduction within the budget is a $500 million cut in Medicaid spending.

On Wednesday, members of the Democratic State Party filed papers with the state to start recall petition drives against all Republican Senate members whom are eligible. Only senators who have served at least one year of their current term can be recalled. Sen. Sheila Harsdorf is among the eight Republicans the Democratic State Party hope to recall.

Some conservative groups have begun similar efforts against a handful of Democratic Senators who remain in Illinois, such as Recall Wirch or Recall the WI 14.

Late Thursday night, Dane County Circuit Court Judge John Alberts ruled that the capitol may be closed at night, but must remain open during the day. The ruling was in part a victory for protestors, as Alberts ruled the policy that restricted public access was unconstitutional, and ordered that the capitol be re-opened by 8 a.m. Monday morning, with increased public access.

The Department of Administration had begun restricting the number of protestors admitted earlier in the week.

The Senate Republicans passed SR1 a resolution stating that the Senate Democrats must have returned to session by 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, or they would be declared in contempt of the Senate.

When no Democrats returned by the deadline, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald signed orders finding the Senate Democrats in contempt, and allowing the chamber's sergeant to use police force to detain them if necessary. The missing Democratic Senators also face a fine of $100 a day for every day they refuse to return.

Also on Thursday, Walker told the Associated Press he would lay off some 1,500 state workers on Friday if his proposal isn't passed by then.

On Friday, Walker informed state unions that he intended to issue layoff notices to 1,500 workers, effective April 4.

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Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-District 10)

  • Sen. Sheila Harsdorf met with local clergy leaders on Feb. 28 to discuss community concerns with Walker's budget repair bill. The meeting was limited to clergy only.
  • On March 1, Harsdorf introduced SB26, which seeks to amend the current law in regards to funding for major interstate projects. Under current law, the Department of Transportation may not authorize the spending of any bonds collected unless the state recieves federal funding that is specifically designated by the federal government for interstate projects, the federal funding must cover at least $75 million of the states share of the projects cost. The state is not to exceed $225 million in obligation bonds on highway projects. SB26 seeks to eliminate the requirement that the state of Wisconsin recieve federal funds to cover a portion of any projects cost before the state begins to spend funds on said project. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Elections.
  • Harsdorf has no committee meetings scheduled for the week.

Rep. Dean Knudson (R-District 30)

  • Rep. Dean Kundson co-sponsored SB26, introduced by Sen. Harsrdorf on March 1.
  • AB39, co-sponsored by Knudson, was introduced on March 1. The bill seeks to change aspects of the UW Board of Regents. Under current law, 14 citizens members serve on the UW Board of Regents. This bill seeks to require the appointment of one citizen representative from each of wisconsins congressional districts to the Board of Regents. The bill was referred to the Committee on Colleges and Universities.
  • Knudson has no committee meetings scheduled for the week.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)

  • S. 49, the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 14-1 vote on March 3. Sen. Herb Kohl was a primary author of the bi-partisan legislation, which seeks to repeal the antitrust exemptions protecting freight railroads from competition. In a press statement on his website, Kohl stated that "our bill will ensure that railroads play by the same rules as all businesses in our economy and give those injured by anti-competitive conduct strong remedies under antitrust law. Over the past several years, railroad shippers of vital commodities have faced spiking rail rates. Rail shippers are forced to pass these price increases into the price of their products, and ultimately, to consumers." The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate before being sent to the House of Representatives.
  • Kohl has an Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, at 10 a.m.
  • Kohl has an Appropriations Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, at 10:30 a.m.
  • Kohl has a Judiciary Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, at 10 a.m.
  • Kohl has a Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, at 2:30 p.m.
  • Kohl has a Judiciary Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 10, at 10:15 a.m.

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-03 District)

Lawrence Panzone March 07, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Is it just my immagination or has the state created a PONZI scam? They didn't seem to mind taking money from the people for retirement but when it came time to pay it out they said the state couldn't afford it. This is shameful. These people should to taken to justice!!
Thurston Howell III March 07, 2011 at 06:46 PM
When in doubt blame the poor and the underprivileged, oh you know that whole ugly list that someone posted at Ellis Island I think???? If you're really interested you can see the list I'm thinking of here: http://www.statueofliberty.org/default_sol.htm The list of people that Gov. Walker wants to help must be somewhere else. Maybe StatueofLibertariannonsense.org. BTW when people parrot terms they here on the radio they kind of give themselves away as unthinking sheep. Take the term PONZI scheme. I've heard that one a lot lately.
Thurston Howell III March 07, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Lawrence, It's just your imagination.

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