Wisconsin Executive Budget

Look at the budgetBudgets are not just about numbers. “Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2015-17 state budget bill brims with the sort of ‘big, bold ideas’ the likely presidential candidate says his Republican Party needs to embrace,” writes Bill Lueders in the February 25, 2015 online edition of The Capital Times. “But some of Walker’s proposals appear to be policy changes with little or no fiscal impact.”

The 2015-2017 Wisconsin Executive Budget contains more than 600 pages. Reading the entire document is a formidable task — and clearly one the governor hopes people — and watchdog organizations will not undertake

A great deal of attention has been paid to one non-fiscal budget item — the proposal to excise language about “public service” and “the search for truth” from the UW’s mission statement. The uproar that ensued when this was revealed forced the governor to down, and claim it was a big mistake (or maybe a drafting error) and he wasn’t responsible.

But there are many other non-fiscal policy changes hidden away in the budget document. Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and her staff have already identified many of them, including one which calls for eliminating the state board charged with overseeing for-profit colleges, which have come under attack for “hyped promises and poor graduation rates.”

Read Lueders’ complete report online to learn about additional policy changes that are contained in the 2015-2017 Wisconsin Executive Budget.

Wisconsin Technical colleges futureThe Wisconsin Technical College District Board Association, a private, non-profit organization comprised of the 144 district board members of Wisconsin’s 16 technical college districts, recently released its initial summary and critique of the provisions in the governor’s proposed 2015-2017 budget that affect technical colleges. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) later introduced the proposal as twin budget bills: AB 21 and SB 21.

Here is a summary of what the association gleaned from its initial review of the 1,800-page budget bill (note that “flat funding” means no change):
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Look at the budget“Budgets are for bean counters,” write Mary Bottari and Jonas Persso of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). “They are not supposed to be for major policy initiatives such as destroying public sector unions or upending the University of Wisconsin’s 111 year old mission to pursue truth and improve the human condition.”

Increasingly, however, Wisconsin’s current governor has been “hiding” major policy initiatives in his budgets. Recently, “CMD has found another gem buried on page 495 of Governor Walker’s 2015-2017 executive budget – a strike-out of the statutory language which provides a different level of compensation for the chief justice of the supreme court and the the associate justices.”

The 2015-2017 Wisconsin Executive Budget contains more than 600 pages. Reading the whole document is a formidable task — and clearly one the governor hopes people — and watchdog organizations such as CMD will not undertake.

Even if you don’t have the time to read the entire budget document, you may want to take a look at it. You can download a searchable PDF of the complete 2015-2017 Wisconsin Executive Budget document from the Local 243 website. It’s large (about 7 MG), so the process may take a few minutes. Use the search function to look for numbers and language that may affect you (for example “technical college”). During the next week or so, we’ll be posting information about specific sections of the budget.