An Unbalanced Budget

In this update: 1. Lavish favors for big donors, massive cuts for most everyone else 2. Walker budget plan guts Impartial Justice Act 3. Restricted Capitol access continues despite judge’s order An Unbalanced Budget

Email date: 3/2/11

In this update:
1. Lavish favors for big donors, massive cuts for most everyone else
2. Walker budget plan guts Impartial Justice Act
3. Restricted Capitol access continues despite judge’s order

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Lavish favors for big donors, massive cuts for most everyone else
Governor Scott Walker says the state will spend no more than it takes in under his budget blueprint. If that turns out to be true, it is the only way his budget is balanced. The massive cuts Walker is calling for would inflict immense pain on public schools and the children they serve, the poor and elderly who depend on state health care assistance, local communities and working people in general.

But as a report issued by the Democracy Campaign this morning shows, wealthy interests who gave Walker almost $15 million to help get him elected governor and nearly another $7 million to Walker’s Republican allies in the Legislature are being treated very differently. Instead of being asked to sacrifice because “Wisconsin is broke” as the governor claims, they have been showered with expensive favors. Just in the first few weeks of the new legislative session, they got back all the money they poured into the 2010 election and then some.

For audio commentary on our findings, check out our podcast.

Our most recent Big Money Blog focuses on the recorded phone call that revealed so much about Governor Walker’s true motives. A previous blog post also was published online by The Capital Times and appears in the newspaper’s print edition today.

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Walker budget plan guts Impartial Justice Act
Amidst the carnage in Governor Walker’s Robin Hood-in-reverse budget scheme is the gutting of Wisconsin’s Impartial Justice Act reforming state Supreme Court elections. The governor proposes eliminating a key funding source for the new program in the budget plan he announced yesterday. Read more here.

Please contact your legislators and urge them to reject the governor’s proposal that would take us back to auctioning off seats on our state’s highest court.

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Restricted Capitol access continues despite judge’s order
Yesterday a Dane County judge ordered the state to reopen the Capitol to the public after some demonstrators were denied access to the building beginning late Sunday and quite a few spent the night outside on the grounds in the cold. The Walker administration claimed it was already in compliance with the judge’s order, but large numbers of people were denied entry late yesterday as a joint session of the Legislature was convening to hear the governor give his budget address. While members of the general public were kept outside, a group of Walker’s supporters were reportedly brought into the building through an underground tunnel and seated in the gallery above the Assembly chamber to hear the governor’s remarks.

This morning a Democracy Campaign staffer trying to drop off our report in the Capitol press room was forced to wait outside for more than a half hour and then was scanned and had to turn out his pockets before being allowed to enter the building.