Republicans shut out working families in budget debate

Yesterday Republican State Rep. Robin Vos and Republican State Senator Alberta Darling, the co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), refused to allow citizens arriving at the JFC’s public hearing in West Allis after 12:00 p.m. to testify on the 2011-2013 biennial budget proposed by Gov. Scott Walker. In addition to not allowing testimony from citizens who couldn’t arrive at the hearing any earlier than noon, the co-chairs of the JFC have scheduled half as many hearings for this budget compared to the previous budget.

Democratic State Senator Chris Larson issued a statement on the actions of the Republican co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee:

“The decision of Co-Chairs Sen. Darling and Rep. Vos to refuse to listen to Wisconsin citizens is unacceptable,” said Sen. Chris Larson (D- Milwaukee). “This budget is devastating to a lot of communities and our neighbors should have an opportunity to have their voices heard.”

“In February, Darling and Vos abruptly adjourned the public hearing on the Budget Adjustment Bill, in March Governor Walker closed down the Capitol to the public, now our neighbors who arrived less than halfway through the scheduled hearing time were told their budget concerns would not be heard,” said Larson. “I would just like to know when this Republican majority is going to start listening to the people they are supposed to be representing.”

It seems abundantly clear Republicans aren’t interested in getting much public input from the public, as demonstrated by their fondness for scheduling public hearings in the middle of the day and then limiting debate during those hearings.

Clearly Republicans are interested in hearing what folks think of Gov. Walker’s drastic budget…


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