Even if Walker’s budget didn’t include the restricting of rights for our fellow citizens, it would still be bad for Wisconsin. I applaud our Democratic lawmakers who have stood firm in their joint refusal to return home. They are true PATROITS, who do not want our state sold to the lowest bidder, as Walker and the rest of the Republicans want.
Let’s look at the Senate bill, shall we?
Right there on Page 6 is this paragraph:
“Currently, this state owns and operates numerous heating, cooling, and power plants that were constructed by the state to provide heating, cooling, and power to
state facilities. The Department of Administration (DOA) determines the method of operation of these plants and may delegate this authority to any other state agency that has managing authority for a plant. This bill permits DOA to sell or contract for the operation of any such plant. The bill exempts such sales and contracts from the requirement for approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that may otherwise apply under current law. The bill provides that the net proceeds
of any sale, after retirement of any outstanding state debt and any necessary repayment of federal financial assistance, is deposited in the budget stabilization fund. The bill also allows DOA, at any time, to petition the PSC to regulate as a public utility any person who purchases or contracts for the operation of any plant under the bill. Under current law, the PSC has regulatory authority over public utilities, including the authority to set rates for utility service.”
Now, take a look at this section (Page 26).
16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).(emphasis mine)
Right there, Walker is giving away our state. It doesn’t mention how much money our “numerous heating, cooling, and power plants” might bring into the state. It doesn’t say how much money the state will make off the sale. And, if we sell off the plants, won’t that mean the state will then have to pay for the privilege of using plants we paid to build and maintain?
And, let’s think who is going to benefit from this no-bid, no approval sale? Could it be Koch Industries – Walker’s second highest campaign contributor? You watch – bill passes, Koch moves in – state loses.
What’s next? Oh, yes, he wants to take away state employees’ rights to protest the state government. Take a look, it is on page 5.
“Under current law, the governor may declare a state of emergency if he or she determines that an emergency exists resulting from a disaster or the imminent threat of a disaster. This bill authorizes a state agency to discharge any state employee who fails to report to work as scheduled for any three unexcused working days during a state of emergency or who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the of operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls. Under the bill, engaging in any of these actions constitutes just cause for discharge.” (emphasis mine)
I don’t have a problem with demanding employees to show up for work during a state emergency, but saying that they will be fired if they strike? That’s going too far. We don’t allow private companies to fire striking employees and public employees deserve the same rights as the rest of us.
I want to digress from going over the bill for a moment and point something out. Someone I know keeps harping on Wisconsin teachers and how they need more competition, etc. I would like to point out that indeed Wisconsin teachers’ salaries are in the top 50% of the nation. I would, also, like to point out that so are our children’s test scores. We pay our teachers more than 50% of the nation and in return we have students who test in the upper 50%. For what more could you ask?
Then there is the Assembly bill, which has all ready passed. That’s where Walker takes away the funding for family planning. In other words, even if you’re poor, you don’t get birth control pills.
Under current law, DHS provides funding for family planning services, including maintaining a state plan for community−based family planning programs and specific annual grants. This bill eliminates this family planning services funding.
According to the Huffington Post, this will save the state a whole 1.9 million dollars a year. Has Walker thought about how much having unwanted babies will cost the state per year? They’ll need childcare, food (more money from WIC) and educations. According to BabyCenter‘s calculator, the total cost of raising a child in the Midwest from 0 to 18 is $243,068. I don’t know how much of that will be paid by Wisconsin taxpayers, but I’m sure some of it will. How about we don’t have the mother become pregnant in the first place? I’m sure we can find other ways of saving 1.9 million. We could always make Walker pay for his own residence and not maintain the governor’s mansion for him. According to State Sen. Bob Wirch (quoted on PolitiFact), it costs one million dollars over a four year term. If Walker paid his own way, we could save $250,000 per year. It would at least be a start.
If this isn’t enough to convince you that Walker and his budget is bad for Wisconsin, well, I just don’t know what else to say. There are more items, but I’m not done reading the thousand plus pages of the budget.
So, as I’ve said before and I’ll say again, Let’s RECALL Walker!