Yesterday on 12 News UpFront, State Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee Lakefront Region) said that the state budget session upcoming could be contentious with the State facing a near $6 billion dollar budget deficit.
But, there is a headline you may not know but it is good to know now as we are facing one of the worse budget deficits in Wisconsin history. That is with the leadership in both houses of the legislature. There could be inflighting in the Democratic caucus over geographic differences. Some people could ask why? Because, the City of Milwaukee basically does not have any leadership except for Rep. Barbara Toles (D-Central Milwaukee) who serves as the lowest end of the leadership ladder as an Assistant Caucus whip for the majority. While the Speaker of the Assembly Mike Sheridan is from Janesville, the Majority Leader Tom Nelson is from the Fox Valley (East Appleton/Little Chute), the Caucus Chair (Whip) Peter Barca is from Kenosha. The closest person from Milwaukee who serves in the Leadership of the Assembly is Tony Stakunus is from West Allis. In the Senate, there are no senators from Milwaukee including Lena Taylor, Spencer Coggs, or Jeff Plale who serve in the leadership of the State Senate.
So why will there be infighting, because Milwaukee will matter in the State Budget, always have and always will. Also, you have on the Joint Finance Committie in the State Legislature strong Milwaukee Representation and with Pedro Colon who is the Chair of the Joint Finance Committie you will see Democratic infighting over geographic priorities of the budget. Pedro Colon is known to be very combative on the Assembly Floor, also add on Lena Taylor and Tamara Grigsby of Milwaukee who are known to show their emotions on the floor their personalities will get in the way if they do not get what they want for Milwaukee. This type of disconnect between the Assembly Leadership and the Joint Finance Committie could pave the way for conflcits between the Assembly Speaker from Janesville and the Joint Finance Committe chairman who is from one of the roughest parts of Milwaukee. When Milwaukee does not get its way, it will cry foul and with the budget deficet looming towards six billion dollars this is the evidence we may see another ugly budget battle.
This is something Wisconsin cannot afford at a time we are losing jobs and we may become one of the highest taxed states in the nation. As the North Shore Exponent is pressing for a better Wisconsin, we will hold accountable those who will try to use a state budget process to divide Wisconsin. In the last session, pro-taxpayer advocates fought hard into overtime to prevent damage to our state and now more than ever we need to fight to make sure we are not losing anymore jobs to Minnesota.