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Next Step to Identify Source of Groundwater Contamination in SE Wisconsin Underway PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Clean Wisconsin   
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 18:14

water_drinkingResearchers visited area to collect well water samples, analysis to follow.

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Genrich Says Progress Made in State Budget Process PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Eric Genrich, State Rep. District 90   
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 17:06

eric-genrichGREEN BAY - The budget process has been moving forward since February of this year, and we are entering the home stretch. The decisions being made by the Joint Committee on Finance are some of the most consequential ones to be made this legislative session.

There has been progress made recently in the committee’s actions to reverse a few of the Governor’s policy choices. For example, the committee restored funding for county land and water conservation offices, partially reversed the cuts to Wisconsin Public Radio and Television included in the Governor’s budget, and maintained the SeniorCare prescription drug program.

These positive developments are the result of the advocacy efforts of thousands of citizens across the state who contacted their legislators and the members of the Joint Committee on Finance to demand improvements in the state budget.

 
Scott Walker Slams Using Federal Funds to Balance Budgets PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Melissa Baldauff   
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 15:50

walker_wavesMADISON - Speaking Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, presidential candidate and part-time Wisconsinite Scott Walker defended his decision to turn away $360 million in federal funds to strengthen the state’s successful BadgerCare program, while criticizing states that took the money – but he left out the part where he balanced his Milwaukee County budgets with federal funds.

Dozens of states – including several with Republican governors, like Iowa, Ohio, and New Jersey -- have accepted federal money authorized under the Affordable Care Act for the expansion of Medicaid.

Walker on Sunday commented that “relying on the federal government for your balancing your budget is really, I think, a fool's bet.”

As a result of four years of irresponsible budgeting under Republican leadership, Wisconsin is faced with a self-inflicted $2 billion budget deficit. Instead of doing the responsible thing for our bottom line and what’s best for Wisconsinites, Scott Walker and his Republican legislature are rejecting $360 million in federal funds to strengthen BadgerCare -- a politically-motivated decision designed to further Scott Walker's personal ambitions at the expense of working Wisconsin families.

Because Scott Walker is putting politics before our middle class, Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $360 million more to insure 85,000 fewer people, and our public schools are facing another round of education cuts.

But while Walker’s rhetoric about shunning federal funds might appeal to his Tea Party supporters as he campaigns for president around the country, it’s not in line with his past reliance on stimulus funds and federal money to balance his budgets in Milwaukee County.

“The only ‘fool’s bet’ is thinking that Scott Walker makes any choices based on what’s best for Wisconsin’s middle class and not what’s best for his political career,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “He’s relied on federal funds in the past when it was convenient for him politically or when his own incompetence and mismanagement ruled out any other option – it’s incredibly hypocritical for Walker to now turn down $360 million that would help balance the budget and help more Wisconsinites have access to affordable healthcare.”

Background:

Scott Walker Advocates for ‘Politically Difficult’ Changes in State, Federal Law to Spend Federal Stimulus Funds in County Budget: In 2009, then-Milwaukee County Executive Walker proposed using federal stimulus aid as part of his budget to pay for a sales tax holiday, property tax rebates, and new business tax cuts, “based on the assumption the county might otherwise get as much as $500 million or more in federal stimulus aid.” Walker “acknowledged that redirecting federal money to state tax cuts might require politically difficult changes in state and federal law.” [“Walker wants state to use share of stimulus money for sales tax holiday,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/15/09]

Walker Spends Federal Funds, Relies on Borrowing to Balance Election Year Budget in Milwaukee County: When Scott Walker officially presented his 2010 budget, he tried to sound a fiscally conservative theme. That rhetoric did not match the reality of the budget that he presented. Not only would the spending for 2010 grow by more than 6% but Walker also planned on frontloading three years of borrowing for capital projects into one year - an election year. Much of that borrowing and spending relied very heavily on the same federal stimulus funding to which he originally said “no thanks.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Walker seeks across-the-board wage cuts in budget,” 9/24/2009; Milwaukee County, “Recommended 2010 Budget,” 2009; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Walker says no thanks to federal stimulus dollars,” 1/6/2009)

Scott Walker Failed to Manage Milwaukee County Transit System: Walker's gross mismanagement of Milwaukee County's transit system ultimately required federal stimulus funds to address massive fiscal problems. ['Milwaukee County bus system to get one-third of stimulus transportation funds,' River Falls Journal, 3/9/2009]

Because of Walker's failure to control transit costs, Milwaukee County residents were forced to shoulder huge fee hikes, reduced routes and fewer services, all while faced with fare increases, including fares for seniors, students and the disabled, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noting in 2010 that, 'County officials have cut service, raised fares or both every year for 10 straight years.' ['County transit ridership falls 9%,' Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/7/2010]

 
State GOP Lawmakers Want to Fast Track 20 Week Abortion Ban PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by GBP Staff   
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 14:28

wvMADISON - State Republicans are looking to fast-track a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, potentially bringing the proposal to a vote before the Legislature begins debate on the state budget in June.

State Senate President Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) told the WisconsinEye Public Affairs Network last week that she hopes to see a vote on the proposal, which has more than 30 co-sponsors, as soon as possible.

"As soon as we can do the logistics of sorting out committee meetings and getting those things done, we will be proceeding," Lazich said.

The bill includes penalties of up to $10,000 and 31/2 years in jail for anyone who is convicted of performing an abortion after 20 weeks. Lazich said research shows a fetus begins to feel pain at that point. It includes a medical emergency exception for the mother's life, but not for rape or incest.

"We will not be allowed to do intentional abortions anymore to rip a child apart after the point that they can feel that pain," said state Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), another bill sponsor. Lazich and Kremer were jointly interviewed on WisconsinEye.

Nicole Safar, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, said in a conference call with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters this month that abortions after 20 weeks are rare and the legislation would likely affect fewer than 100 women a year. But she added that the ban would take away choices for women facing difficult situations, such as discovering fatal fetal anomalies and health risks for themselves.

As Senate president, Lazich assigns bills to committees and sits on the panel that decides which bills will come to a floor vote. Lazich is a lead sponsor of the bill.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is preparing a likely run for the presidency, said in March he would sign the measure if it came to his desk.

 
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