Walker’s Budget Scheme: Undemocratic, Unbalanced, Potentially Unconstitutional

Government Rights Takeaway, $30 Million Credit Card Tab, Legislative Usurping Questioned

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s scheme to allow the government to take away the rights of Wisconsin workers is part of an unbalanced and potentially unconstitutional proposal that would add at least $30 million to the state’s credit card and allow the Governor’s health agency director to slash health care access and raise costs without the approval of the legislature.

“Gov. Walker’s scheme to use the government to take away our rights is undemocratic, unbalanced and may be unconstitutional,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Gov. Walker just spent $140 million in special interest giveaways and now he’s borrowing $165 million and adding at least $30 million to the state credit card.”

The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released its analysis of the Walker administration’s plan on Monday. Among the more noteworthy items found in LFB’s report and One Wisconsin Now’s analysis show:

  • Walker’s “scoop and toss” scheme adds at least $30 million directly to the 2011-13 budget, despite Republican promises to not add to the deficit. Walker is borrowing $165 million a month after approving $140 million in special interest spending last month.
  • Walker intends to allow the administration to slash health care assistance for as many as 1 million Wisconsinites without the approval of the full legislature – a move that could potentially be unconstitutional, according to a memo from the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau. As many as 55,000 adults could lose their coverage and Walker’s move could affect medical care for children, long-term care for the seniors, nursing home patients, disabled persons and result in dramatic out-of-pocket cost increases for participants in BadgerCare and SeniorCare without a vote of the legislature.
  • Walker wants to add nearly three dozen political positions to his agencies, including replacing independent legal advisors with political appointees, a move which could cost as much as $3 million and does nothing to reduce the budget deficit.
  • Walker’s use of the government to take away the rights of Wisconsin workers is just one of nine separate non-fiscal, policy-related changes in the plan. Walker’s effort to end collective bargaining rights of public employees would forever alter the relationship between management and workers to the detriment of Wisconsinites.
  • Walker would allow private companies to purchase the state’s power plants in a potentially no-bid process. The plan also rejects $23 million in federal funds to provide broadband access for rural Wisconsin.

“Gov. Walker is using a false crisis to enact a radical plan that adds to the deficit and uses the government to strip away rights of Wisconsin workers,” said Ross. “How is filling the agencies with $3 million worth of political apologists dealing with the budget deficit?”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.