In his speech about why he was voting against it, State Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) said this about the budget: "Maybe the kringle or the cream puff should be designated the state pastry. But it doesn't belong in the state budget." Neither did all the other non-fiscal stuff Schultz's fellow Republicans included.
From Rebecca Kemble, in the Progressive Magazine:
Joint Finance Committee co-chair state representative John Nygren said he was proud of his colleagues on the committee and of the budget process he and co-chair state senator Alberta Darling oversaw. Under their direction the Republican-stacked committee added nearly 100 non-fiscal policy items, many of which were introduced in the middle of the night on the last day of the body’s deliberations. ...How long will it be before the citizens of Wisconsin realize what having twice elected the "goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin" hath wrought? That they and their neighbors are becoming increasingly impoverished? That their public schools no longer have the resources needed to provide their children with a good education and that the private voucher schools that siphon funds away from public schools do even worse? That our natural resources are being decimated and state properties are being sold out from under us? That we're paying more for fewer Wisconsinites to be covered by medical insurance?
The seeds of big money and special interest influence planted in the 2010 elections are now bearing fruit. Last year Scott Fitzgerald said, "If you think this budget was scary, wait until the next one!" The "next one" just passed, and it has made the struggle of public school defenders, health care advocates, environmental conservationists and anyone who still believes in the concept of public goods and public investment to maintain a basic level of public services exceedingly more difficult. [Emphasis added!]
Charles Uphoff, who fasted this week to express his deep concern about what this budget would do to education in the state, spotted one of its most bitter ironies:
Many legislators fail to see the irony in a budget that tells a family of four earning $24,000 that they are too wealthy to qualify for medical assistance through Badger Care while a family of four earning $77,000 can get pubic assistance with the cost of sending their children to a private religious voucher school.It's just as Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca exclaimed, "Mr. Speaker, you and your colleagues are putting extremism before logic."
If it weren't for my singing activist community, I think I would go completely 'round the twist. My deepest gratitude to my friend Ryan Wherley and all the rest for relentlessly singing truth to power. Notice the verse Ryan added: "We shall have a voice, we shall have a voice, we shall have a voice someday...."
Today, we mourn—and sing. Tomorrow we get busy (and keep singing). The goggle-eyed homunculus is not invincible, and neither are his minions in the legislature.