State Legislature to Discuss Budget

6/13/11 – Some questions remain about the new state budget that lawmakers will vote on this week. Majority Republicans must still decide whether to re-insert the limits on public union bargaining which were passed in March, and are still tied up in the courts. But except for some other last-minute changes, the budget for the next two years appears to be a done deal. The Assembly will start discussing it tomorrow, followed by the Senate. It would spend 66-billion-dollars, one-point-eight-percent more than the current budget, and it would eliminate over a-thousand jobs. It reduces state aid to schools and local governments and a number of social programs – all with the goal of eliminating not only the three-point-six-billion-dollar deficit for the next two years, but also multi-billion-dollar deficits that previous budgets have left behind for future years. Senate Democratic leader Mark Miller says the G-O-P budget hurts public education in exchange for a host of tax giveaways to prop up business. But G-O-P Governor Scott Walker says it’s necessary medicine to fix the state’s ailing economy and get the state on the road to prosperity. Labor and community groups will protest the business tax breaks during a march in Madison today to the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce, the state’s largest business group.