I just woke up and the budget was approved at 5a while I was sleeping thinking the Democrats who voted on the budget are like the people in those classic Hardees ads for rise and shine biscuits made early in the morning, but we rise and shine as a state that passed a budget that claims to protect the middle class but puts more harm and danger to the middle class in a bad economy.
First, I must give kudos to Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (D-Manitowoc, 25th District) for being a voice of courage to the taxpayers of Wisconsin. Ziegelbauer is the only blue dog Democrat and has demonstrated it consistently throughout his career in the Assembly since being first elected in 1992.
Second, I am very ashamed that the Democrats refused to work with Republicans to approve amendments to the budget to ease the suffering the Democrats in which they will not admit are already inflicting on the middle class in this budget. I am not happy that Democrats kept the higher car insurance minimum coverage mandates in the budget. This proposal to raise car insurance by up to 40 percent on the middle class shows the Democrats care more on the trial lawyer lobby in Madison than the constituents back in their home districts. This proposal whether the left does not want to admit will force more drivers to go uninsured especially low and middle income drivers.
Third, I also take offense to every Democrat who in their actions voted to make public safety a back burner priority than the first priority. First, the Democrats in the Assembly turned down amendments to stop early release especially for offenders that sexually assaulted children. Also, I am very dismayed that Jessica’s Law in Wisconsin got dismantled during the budget process by taking out lifetime GPS monitoring of sexual offenders. At a time when we are seeing crime go down in the City of Milwaukee but we are seeing inaction in City of Madison on violent crime shows that the Assembly Democrats care more about their party politics and satisfy their shadowy special interest groups over protecting our families.
Fourth, Rep. Bill Kramer demanded a transparency amendment to the budget by putting a transparency website in the budget just like other states like Minnesota and Missouri do, but what happened was it got rejected on a party line vote in which I thought transparency was a bi-partisan issue. Tonight, it shows that the Democrats in control of the Assembly care less of being open and transparent.
Fifth, I watched the budget coverage on Wisconsin Eye and flipped back between the Stanley Cup Finals and the Brewers game. I was happy to see the conservatives give these Dems a stern lecture and yes this is the beginning why the GOP is going to retake the legislature.
I can go on and on, but after seeing what the Democrats doing trying to keep the budget out of the day of light, it shows that the next Governor needs to put budget reform back on the forefront. Here is what I think how budget reform should be done in Wisconsin:
- Absolute ban on inserting non-fiscal policy items in the budget.
- Requiring that amendments in closed caucus must be made public at no least from 48 hours when introduced and requiring that it must be made public up t0 72 hours.
- Demanding that the Zipperer Earmark Transparency Bill be passed so we can know who is benefiting from earmarks and requiring open debate all earmarks so we do not have a episode of Wrightstown recycling bins.
- Whenever there are changes in the budget deficit that there must be a public hearing within one week of the deficit change.
- Passing a stronger sunshine and open government bill. The Open Government bill passed by transparency hypocrite Louis Molepske, Jr. (D-Stevens Point-71st District) does nothing to create an atomsphere of open government by limiting the bill to just making bill drafts open. A stronger sunshine bill could include more openess of documents in closed budget caucuses and also requiring the conference committee on the budget to make changes open and transparent.
The North Shore Exponent will continue to hold these politicians and their shadowy special interest groups accountable so we can give the citizens of Wisconsin the real truth on who benefits and who does not benefit from the budget.