Early this morning after a marathon session full of shady backroom deals, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) completed their budget discussions and voted on a final document to send to the state Assembly and Senate for debate.
The 12-4 Republican controlled committee steamrolled over Wisconsin’s middle class and rewarded their campaign contributors by passing almost all of Gov. Walker’s harmful budget proposals. This budget systematically dismantles programs and services that have made Wisconsin a great place for working people. Make no mistake, this budget was heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists spinning deals in backrooms and chocking it full of special interest items.
• Public education is being scaled back and teachers disrespected. Republicans are siphoning tax dollars out of neighborhood schools and into for-profit private education enterprises.
• The JFC put in place an unfair tax shift scheme that overwhelming favors the rich and the top 1% of earners.
• The JFC sidestepped the time-tested recommendations of the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, an advising council made up of both labor and management groups that work together to create a balanced approach to unemployment compensation. The JFC also decreased benefits that unemployed workers rely on.
• The JFC let politics cloud their common sense and refused to accept federal funds to expand BadgerCare coverage in Wisconsin. This move will cost the state money and jobs and as a new study recently outlines will result in more needless deaths.
• The JFC called for a private bail bond system to be legalized. Commercial bail bonds have been banned in Wisconsin since 1979 and face near universal opposition from judges, lawyers and law enforcement. Bail bonds are ineffective and a threat to public safety.
The budget is expected to be completed and sent to the Governor by June 30. Floor debate in both the Assembly and Senate will occur between now and then. This is our final chance to raise our voices and urge legislators to make changes to one of the worst budgets in Wisconsin’s history.
URGENT -- the next three weeks are critical.