Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The LeMaHieu Report

The following is the 31st edition of The LeMahieu Report which is the effort of State Representative Dan LeMahieu to keep his constituents informed of what is going on legislatively.
At this point in the game, I think it is imperative to disseminate every little bit of primary source information that is available as the media is clearly(See my next post) not covering anything that they think would hurt the union side of the discussion. Reality trumps ideology every time.
I have highlighted with red a few of the more important items to note.
And here is the report:

"Budget Repair Bill Passes Assembly

After two weeks, 17 hours of public testimony and over 61 straight hours of debate on the floor of the Assembly the Budget Repair Bill passed early Friday morning on a 51 – 17 vote.

Now the Repair Bill is in the State Senate waiting for 14 AWOL Democratic Senators to return from Illinois to debate and vote.

Wisconsin is facing a $150 million deficit in the current budget ending June 30th. This bill would have covered that shortfall and established a foundation for the next two year budget that faces a $3.6 billion deficit.

The last two weeks have been very frustrating with Democrat stall tactics in both houses, a lot of misinformation and a lot of intimidation. The Budget Repair Bill:
Does not eliminate pension plans or health insurance
Does not reduce pay
Does not continue mandatory furlough days
Does not eliminate vacation or sick leave days
Does not eliminate public or private sector unions
Does not totally eliminate collective bargaining

The bill does contain reasonable measures to control spending at the state level and for local governments and school districts. Wisconsin is broke. There will be cuts in shared revenue to local governments and schools in Governor Walker’s budget. The budget repair bill gives local governments the flexibility to control their budgets. This is what they have wanted for years and years.

What if this bill does not pass the Senate? The only other option is layoffs. We will find out this week what Governor Walker plans on doing if he has to go forward without the changes the Budget Repair Bill would give him. I believe it will be approximately 1,500 public sector layoffs. That is something none of us wants to see.

Last November, the voters told us they wanted things to change in Madison. No more out of control spending and no more smoke and mirrors to balance budgets. They asked for fiscal responsibility. No more passing the tough decisions to the next budget or the next generation.

This budget repair bill sets the groundwork for future budgets two, four, six years down the road. It gives local governments the ability to balance their budgets, and control their workplace. The people you elect to these boards and councils will be able to make the decisions you elected them to make.

Last Two Weeks

A few thoughts on the last two weeks in Madison.

First, it was very frustrating to see how a bunch of protesters took over the capitol building. The mess and the smell after nearly two weeks were hard to watch. Hopefully the capitol will return to normal this week and the mess will be cleaned up and any damage repaired.

Second, the noise was nonstop. It was hard to get any work done in offices, in caucus or in the Assembly chamber. When you walked the halls with a suit on you were yelled at, sometimes screamed at. Police were everywhere. They did a wonderful job keeping peace and a semblance of order.

Third, this issue is becoming a contest between public sector unions and taxpayers. Taxpayers want to have a voice in how their government is run through their local and state elected officials. Right now they don’t feel they have that voice.

My Vote

I have been on record supporting this legislation since it was introduced three weeks ago. I voted for this bill in Joint Finance making it possible that both houses of the legislature could vote on this important piece of legislation. This is exactly the bill we voted on last Friday in the Assembly.

When we took the vote at 1:00 am after over 60 hours of debate pandemonium broke loose. There was a quick electronic vote taken. When the rolls were closed my vote did not register and it shows me as “not voting”. Normally that would be corrected before the rolls were closed but with the chaos (screaming and yelling) in the chamber and the quick exit that did not happen. I found out an hour after we adjourned that I was recorded as “not voting.” You can see by videos taken of the Assembly floor I was at my desk pushing my button. The next time the Assembly is in session, I will have my vote corrected to say that in the official Assembly record that I want my vote to say Yes, that I supported the budget repair bill and I stand with Governor Walker.

I am on record voting for the bill in Joint Finance and I will continue to support fiscally responsible legislation that brings stability to state and local governments in Wisconsin. We do not want to face the massive layoffs and cuts in service that are happening right now in Michigan, California and many other states in this country.

We can do better in Wisconsin but that means making tough decisions now. We can’t continue to pass our problems on to the next budget and the next generation.

Governor Walker’s Budget Bill

Governor Walker plans on delivering his Budget speech to the legislature this Tuesday. Remember what we have been dealing with is a Budget Repair Bill that just gets us to July 1st. The next biennial budget starts on July 1st and runs through June 30, 2013. Governor Walker will present that budget that deals with a $3.6 billion shortfall. That budget will shine a light on just how bad the state’s finances have been for years and getting worse because no tough decision were made.

Stay tuned to what is happening in Madison. The financial viability of Wisconsin is at stake. We can’t continue to take a pass on the problems we face. Every year we wait the decisions get harder and more painful. Regardless of the opposition we need to take a stand right now."

"Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies." ~ Gen 42:16


Jane_NoDough said...

I don't agree with you Senator. It has been shown by some of the best financial wizards in the country (some that reside in Wisconsin) that this Budget bill will in fact Raise our debt. Also, by passing the cutting of services and elimination of jobs down to the city and county level and ruining our education system, we will have more people on unemployment and social service programs thatn ever before. Without people being able to afford to pay taxes, your services won't be needed because we can't afford to keep you on the payroll! It is one thing to back your party, but another thing all together to harm the people that put you in office. It seems like a harsh ending for someone that has worked so hard to get to your position. Please take a close look at the wording of this bill. This is a lot more than bargaining and unions (of which I don't belong to).

Call Me Mom said...

First of all, Welcome to the blog Jane. Thank you for being well spoken and avoiding vulgar and obscene language. I appreciate that.

If you take a look at WI's test scores, in my opinion, the educational system could be improved by eliminating it alltogether. If our educators aren't intelligent enough to educate our children with all the spending WI does, what makes you think giving them more money will help? Perhaps a bit of paring will spark some ingenuity.

Some of the "best financial wizards in the country", eh? Would you care to name names? Hopefully one of them will not be former Gov. Doyle, as his accounting practices, while they may appear "wizardly" were actually found to be illegal by an audit done as he left office. I would encourage Gov. Walker to press charges, but he probably will not.

These changes are being made to
"set the groundwork for future budgets". But I would like to see how you think this bill will raise our debt if you would care to provide a link.

You said:"It is one thing to back your party, but another thing all together to harm the people that put you in office." I'm sure that is the exact sentiment of the public employee unions.

With respect to the comment about cutting services and elimination of jobs, perhaps we will find some currently unemployed citizens to take on those jobs for less pay than is currently being offered. Then, those highly skilled current employees can move on to jobs that will pay them what they deserve in the private sector. Sounds like a win-win to me.

I thank you for sharing your views Jane, even though I do not agree with them. And once again I thank you for refraining form profanity and nastiness to do so.