Below is a summary of the state budget prepared by the Democratic members of the Joint Finance Committee.
2015-17 STATE BUDGET AT A GLANCE
Updated March 13, 2015
Gov. Walker’s fiscally irresponsible “Cut and Borrow” policies are preventing economic growth and holding Wisconsin families back. As we work to responsibly balance the state budget, Democrats want to put Wisconsin families first and increase economic opportunities by strengthening our schools, investing in infrastructure and creating quality jobs.
- Reduces state support for education and forces local public schools to reduce per pupil spending by $150 on average in the 2015-16 school year.
- Takes funding directly from local public schools to pay for the statewide expansion of Gov. Walker’s taxpayer-subsidized private school voucher program.
- Removes local control of schools by creating an unaccountable and unelected statewide charter school board.
- Provides $6.7 million in additional funding for rural sparsity and high cost transportation
- Cuts $300 million from UW schools and forces layoffs across the state.
- Converts the UW System to a public authority model and allows the new UW System Authority to increase tuition.
- Fails to fully fund the Wisconsin GI Bill which provides veterans and active duty members of the armed services with an education at UW and Technical College schools.
- Eliminates public oversight and makes Wisconsin the only state without student protections at for-profit colleges.
- Merges the WEDC and WHEDA agencies into a new quasi-private authority, the Forward Wisconsin Development Authority, and removes legislative oversight.
- Removes the requirement that the Forward Wisconsin Development Authority be financially audited by the Legislative Audit Bureau –– the non-partisan agency that uncovered the WEDC’s past fiscal mismanagement.
Voting in Wisconsin has just become more complicated for everyone and may be quite daunting for some otherwise eligible voters.
Our job now is to mobilize as many people as we can
- to find registered voters who lack an acceptable photo ID and help them acquire one;
- to register new voters and help them with obtaining the documents they will need.
Here's what you can do:
Sign up as a volunteer for voter registration. In the comments section, tell us how you would like Grassroots North Shore to organize and support voter registration efforts.
Beginning with an election occurring after April 7, 2015, every Wisconsin voter will be required to show "an acceptable photo ID" at the polling place. The rules for "acceptable" IDs can be somewhat complicated but here's what the Government Accountability Board specifies:
Wisconsin law requires the Department of Transportation to provide free ID cards to any individual who will be at least 18 years of age on the date of the next election and who requests a free ID for the purpose of voting.
Due to the need to provide a birth certificate and other documents to receive a DOT-issued ID, individuals should start the process of obtaining a statutory identification well in advance of an election at which they wish to vote.
The Department of Transportation's website specifies what it takes to get a Wisconsin ID from the Department of Transportation. And thanks to an "administrative tweak" the Wisconsin Supreme Court provided when it ruled on the Voter ID law, DMV offices are supposed to be able to locate verifying documents such as birth certificates for applicants at no cost. But it may take some time for the verification process. That's why it's vital that we begin NOW to work with citizens to ensure that everyone eligible to vote will be able to vote in the next election.
Complicating matters further, DMV offices have limited hours. In Milwaukee, DMV service centers are generally open from 8:30-4:45 on weekdays. The Milwaukee-Southwest service Center, at 5500 W. Grange Avenue in Greendale, has Saturday morning hours from 8:30am - noon. In Ozaukee County, the Saukville service center is closed on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is open from 8:45am - 4:pm; on Wednesdays, it is open from 12:30pm - 6:00pm.
Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer. His blog post was originally published on March 8, 2015 on GermantownNow and is republished here by permission.
Last week, Right-to-Freeload was jammed through the legislature in an "extraordinary" session. Elected officials, who claim to represent you, took an active roll in passing this bill that will likely lower your salary and benefits. Alberta Darling cast the deciding vote in the State Senate and Dan Knodlwas responsible for shoving the bull bill through Assembly committee .
All that is left is for Scott Walker to make a brief Monday stop-over in Wisconsin to sign the bill, which he says that he will do. Walker's decision to enact Right-to-Freeload comes after a long history of misdirection, evasion, and prevarication on the issue.Read more
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has served Wisconsin well during her 19 years on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She is currently running for a third 10-year term. Grassroots North Shore is endorsing her because she has proven to be an outstanding jurist, one who refuses to take contributions from parties or lawyers with cases before the court. Her rulings demonstrate her commitment to protecting Wisconsin citizens from corporations seeking to sell harmful products to children. She believes that to maintain the trust of citizens, the judiciary must be free of partisanship and of influence from special interest groups, especially from out-of-state groups.
Governor Walker’s budget for 2015-17 proposes to decrease funding for the University of Wisconsin system by $300 million, a 13% decrease on top of the 17.5% cut already implemented in previous budgets. In return, property owners in Wisconsin may see their property taxes decline by $5 in each of the two years of the biennial budget or a total of $10. This property tax “relief” is not only smaller than a pittance; it will also return the greatest “relief” to the owners of the most expensive properties. So the benefit calculations, such as they are, are clear. But what the proposed budget does not explain is how these draconian cuts will play out in the years to come. Before this budget plan is enacted, we need to ask what happens when states cut deeply into the funding for public colleges and universities. Fortunately, we now have empirical answers to this question.Read more
Because Wisconsin will hold elections on February 17 (primaries) and April 7, many people want to know whether voters will be required to show a valid photo ID at the polls. The answer to that question depends on the procedures of the Supreme Court of the United States and their timing. Here's what's happening and how it is likely to play out.
On January 7, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin (ACLU), along with Arnold & Porter and the Advancement Project, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. The State has until February 9, 2015, to file a response. The petition and opposition will then be distributed to the Court for consideration 14 days after the response. The ACLU can file a reply brief in that 14-day window, but the reply does not affect the date of distribution. The case will likely be distributed on February 23, 2015. Once the case is distributed, it is reviewed by a pool of the Justices' law clerks, one of whom drafts a pool memorandum (with brief analysis and a recommendation to grant or deny) that is distributed to the Justices’ individual chambers for further review by law clerks and the Justices. Most petitions are effectively denied at this point without further review or discussion.
Potentially “cert-worthy” petitions are scheduled for discussion and a vote at one of the Court’s Friday conferences, usually two or three weeks after the case is distributed. (Unless the briefing schedule changes, the ACLU’s case likely will be listed for the conference on March 20, 2015.) At least four of the nine Justices must vote in favor for certiorari to be granted. Decisions to grant or deny certiorari are often announced in orders issued the following Monday. (So this case could be granted or denied as soon as March 23, 2015.) However, some cases discussed at a conference are “relisted” for a subsequent conference to allow further review and/or discussion. For the past two terms, it seems that most of the petitions that are granted review are relisted at least once, possibly to ensure that there are no undetected jurisdictional problems that would require dismissal later.
Given this schedule, it is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would take any action prior to the February primary elections, meaning the ID requirement will not be in effect for that election. If the Supreme Court grants certiorari, argument will probably not be scheduled until the next term, starting in October 2015, and the ID requirement will be enjoined during the entire process of making a final decision on the case. However, if the Court denies certiorari, it is possible that the denial will come before the April elections. If that were to happen, it is possible that ID will be required for the April election. So people should be encouraged to try to get an acceptable ID (drivers license and state ID cards are the most common) as soon as they can and let the ACLU know if they have problems getting one.