Doyle budget maneuver illegal?

Seriously….this is why I was never Gov. Jim Doyle’s biggest fan:

Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration lacks the legal authority to use a $127 million accounting trick to help cover a shortfall in state health programs for the poor, the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget and audit offices report.

The finding means the Democratic administration could have to seek lawmakers’ approval for the budget maneuver, which involves pushing off Medicaid payments to health care providers into the next budget to help cover a hole in the current one. That could pose problems, because the Legislature, now controlled by Democrats, isn’t scheduled to return until January, when Doyle leaves office.

Here’s the worst part of this story: even if the provider payments can be delayed, the state is still going to have to scrape together roughly $58 million in new state money (or face the prospect of making even larger cuts) in order to balance the Medicaid budget, according to a new memo released this week by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

It’s safe to say I won’t be shedding many tears once Gov. Jim Doyle leaves office, because while he’s done some good things as governor, situations like this are a perfect example of how he’s been too willing to take shortcuts – whether completely legal or not – when it comes to the Wisconsin state budget.

Brett Davis is a grade-A hypocrite

In a recent press release, Republican Lt. Governor candidate Brett “Don’t call me a moderate anymore” Davis said it was “absurd” that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections is using paying for driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards for prison inmates. However, while Brett Davis has busied himself attacking the program that enables inmates to get the driver’s licenses or ID cards, what he conveniently forgot to tell folks is that he actually voted for the state budget that put the new inmate driver’s license/ID card policy into effect. If Brett Davis were really concerned with using tax dollars to help inmates get driver’s licenses and iD cards, then perhaps he wouldn’t have voted in favor of the budget that put the policy into effect.

Now maybe Brett Davis didn’t read the entire state budget before voting on it, or perhaps he didn’t care what was in the budget, so long as a few soybean threshers found their way to his Assembly District, but the fact is, Brett Davis’s newfound opposition to tax dollars being used to provide driver’s licenses and ID cards to inmates is hypocrisy, plain and simple.

Why won’t Clarke debate his opponent?

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who’s facing a tough primary challenge from Milwaukee Police Detective Chris Moews, seems to be avoiding two public debates scheduled for the two candidates, as noted by Moews in a recent press release:

Noting that Sheriff David Clarke had not confirmed his attendance at two already-scheduled debates, Sheriff candidate Chris Moews called on Clarke to meet the challenge Tuesday night.

“With the race as close as it currently stands, you would think the sheriff would be more willing to appear at these debates,” Moews said in a statement. “Good citizens have taken the time to schedule these debates and the voters deserve to know the direction that each candidate wants to take the Sheriff’s Department.”

Two local civic groups have scheduled forums for Clarke and Moews, but Clarke has refused to commit.

“We’re disappointed that Sheriff Clarke is unable to make a commitment to appear at our forum,” said Kathy Grothe of the Capitol West Neighborhood Association. “We would like our residents to make an intelligent choice on September 14th, so I’m disappointed he has been unwilling to make his case to the voters.”

“It is unfortunate that Sheriff Clarke will not be available for our very important community event,” said Bill Lang of Voces de la Frontera. “However, it is an opportunity to get to know [Moews and Republican Steven Duckhorn] even though Clarke has rejected our invitation.”

The Moews campaign pointed out that the Sheriff may not feel confident debating because of his record.

“The Clarke campaign has always focused on the Sheriff’s ‘record and accomplishments’ although they have never provided examples of either,” Moews campaign manager Dave Broker said. “Given the fact the Sheriff hasn’t hired a single new deputy since 2003 and is known for focusing more on his right-wing politics than actual law enforcement, I can’t say I blame them.”

The Capitol West Neighborhood Association forum is scheduled for September 2, while the Voces de la Frontera debate is scheduled for August 29th. While Chris Moews has accepted invitations to both events, Sheriff David Clarke has not, but given Clarke’s dismal record as Milwaukee County Sheriff, I can’t blame him for not wanting to debate someone like Chris Moews, who has some great ideas on how to change the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department for the better.

Julie Lassa has a new ad up

I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa, who’s vying for the 7th Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Dave Obey, but she’s got her first ad up, and I figured it was worth taking a look at.

Here’s the ad, titled “Two Skills,” which highlights Lassa’s background growing up on a dairy farm.