Wisconsin Republicans are looking at injecting their far-right ideologies that favor Scott Walker’s presidential ambitions, the Koch Brothers’ funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Religious Right anti-choice War On Women crowd and other special interests with the recent budget deal swirling through the House and Senate.
In the earliest hours of June 5, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) Republicans waited until 1AM to flail against the people of Wisconsin on a number of fronts. You would think they’d be more focused on trying to stop Wisconsin from being 49th in the nation in the most recent index from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which has an index rank of -0.74%. Wyoming is 50th with a rank of -1.29%. The “magic” of the last Walker budget passed by these Republicans has brought Wisconsin vying for last place while ALEC lobby money is padding Republican legislators’ wallets.
Instead of caring about the fact that the Walker agenda is failing, the Repubicans were focused on defunding public schools with unaccountable, corporatized voucher programs apparently outside of public scrutiny while taxpayers foot the bill.
Then there’s the tragic and careless turning down millions of dollars for Medicaid expansion and BadgerCare, which will lead taxpayers to foot the bill for $490 million while nearly 85,000 citizens lose their coverage. Over a half-billion dollars of average income tax cuts favoring the wealthy were also added in the legislation.
Then there was attacking the freedom of the press with assaulting The Center for Investigative Journalism with a provision that reads “Center for Investigative Journalism. Prohibit the Board of Regents from permitting the Center for Investigative Journalism to occupy any facilities owned or leased by the Board of Regents. In addition, prohibit UW employees from doing any work related to the Center for Investigative Journalism as part of their duties as a UW employee.”
Anti-abortion legislation and voter disenfranchisement provisions and additions are getting appended to the budget as well.
It’s been a year since Scott Walker spent $23.00 per vote with 83% of campaign money from outside Wisconsin to win his recall. His promise of 250,000 new private sector jobs by 2016 is an impossibility. With Wisconsin sinking into last place on several fronts, the Republicans are tone-deaf to what needs to be done to save the state from being a laughingstock. The new budget goes to the Assembly for debate, followed by the Senate and eventually to Walker to sign into law.
Don’t expect any surprises from the Republicans to find some legislative sanity. They are too drunk with power to change. With Walker driving Wisconsin off the rails being 44th in job creation, 50th in short term job growth and 45th in wage growth, 50th with the US Chamber of Commerce, it’s as if statistics and facts don’t matter.