Guest blog by Peter Barca: Governor Walker’s budget is law. Now what?

The following is a guest blog from Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha:

Governor Walker’s budget is law. Now what?

By State Rep. Peter Barca

The budget signed into law today by Gov. Walker that shamelessly attacks Wisconsin’s shared values and middle class families is certainly a dark chapter in our state’s proud history. But we must remember that it is always darkest before the dawn.

In Gov. Walker’s veto message released today, he attacked struggling Wisconsinites who have lost their jobs by “applauding” his fellow Republicans for their “decisive action” that requires laid off Wisconsin workers to wait one week before they can receive benefits that help put food on their family’s dinner tables while they look for work in one of the worst economies in generations.

The evidence is clear that Gov. Walker and his fellow Republicans believe that the only path they have to hold on to power is to govern Wisconsin in secret and keep their radical agenda away from the light of the Wisconsin people. From passing the budget legislation at 3:00 a.m. to signing it into law on a Sunday hidden away from the public on private property, Gov. Walker has gone out of his way to limit public scrutiny of his extreme agenda. In a startling number of Gov. Walker’s budget vetoes, he used the power of his pen to eliminate provisions of his budget that require reporting or legislative oversight — further consolidating power in his administration and reducing accountability.

Gov. Walker’s budget attacks middle-class families by shifting taxpayer funding away from public schools and giving it to unaccountable, unproven voucher schools. It raises taxes on seniors who want to stay in their homes. It slashes funding for universities and job retraining programs at technical schools. (Another irony – Gov. Walker is signing his budget at a business that needs tech college training for its jobs.) It passes the buck to local communities, forcing them to make the tough cuts in local services while Governor Walker consolidates more power and more taxpayer money within his administration.

Further proving that Gov. Walker will say or do anything to deceive Wisconsinites for his own political gain, he repeatedly broke his own campaign promises in this budget. He promised he wouldn’t raise property taxes. He did. He promised he wouldn’t raid funds or hike fees. He did both. He promised not to hide policy in his budget. He did. And he promised he wouldn’t increase state spending. He did – by $1.1 billion.

Gov. Walker will try to claim victory today, but he knows that he would never have been elected, let alone been able to pass this disastrous budget, if he had been transparent and honest with the hard-working people of Wisconsin during his campaign.

But dawn is coming.

In a little more than a month, Wisconsinites in six Republican-controlled senate districts will give Gov. Walker a much needed lesson on the shared values of our state and democracy’s inherent desire for open, transparent and honest government.

To take back our state legislature and to build our case for recalling Gov. Walker and Republican senators in the months ahead, we must continue to pull back the shroud of darkness and secrecy they have imposed on our state – we have to provide the sunlight that will ultimately disinfect Wisconsin of their radical and misguided agenda.

We must continue to tell the stories of struggling middle-class, working Wisconsinites that will suffer additional hardships as a result of Gov. Walker’s poor budget choices and his assault on worker rights. We must continue to expose the special favors and abuse of power that is rampant throughout the Walker Administration. We must clearly articulate our plans to expand opportunity and prosperity while protecting our shared Wisconsin values.

And most importantly, we must continue the fight to ensure that Wisconsin values are restored and preserved for future generations.

Wisconsin’s bloggers have been the tip of the spear in the battle to bring openness and transparency to this fight and I look forward to working with bloggers across our state to restore worker rights and the shared values that have always made Wisconsin great.


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42 thoughts on “Guest blog by Peter Barca: Governor Walker’s budget is law. Now what?

  1. So do you guys really buy into this? The budget is balanced, which is something Doyle and Barca failed to do. All they did was massively raise taxes on us and still left us with billions of debt.

    “From passing the budget legislation at 3:00 a.m. to signing it into law on a Sunday hidden away from the public on private property” Seriously? I’m sure they would have liked to pass at it at 9am, but Democrats wanted to debate it until 3am. And I really don’t care whether the Gov signs a document in his office or elsewhere. The imporant thing is that it’s passed, and that’s no secret.

    1. The state is required to have a balanced budget, per our constitution, so your argument is false. Doyle and Barca balanced the budget, as was required by the constitution.

      1. You can’t really believe that. What about the $3.6 billion in debt? What about their tax hikes of a billion $? Let’s be honest here.

        1. What about Republicans raising taxes on lower income folks, thanks to cuts to the Homestead tax credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit?

          I suppose raising taxes on those folks is okay, since they aren’t likely to vote Republican anyways, and besides, it was really critical that corporations and top wage earners here in Wisconsin get another tax break, because they need the money more than some poor people.

          1. It’s pretty simple really. Better tax climate means jobs are created. Just ask Illinois, which recently increased tax rates. Even their Dems leaders are rethinking that they overreached. Take a look at this article: “A Democratic discovery Taxes do drive employers’ decisions on jobs” … “with the income tax hike, expect Illinois to fall even further behind Indiana. And expect another cross-border rival for employers, Wisconsin, to improve as Republican lawmakers make strides against that state’s tax burden.”,0,5369275.story

            But if you would rather hike taxes on companies so you can feel good about “fairness,” go ahead and watch job losses through companies not coming here, leaving if they can, and dying if they can’t.

            As for tax credits, they are just that. Slight adjustments to credits, which actually give money to people who don’t pay taxes, isn’t exactly a tax hike. If government decided to change the mortgage interest deduction would you consider that a tax hike?

            I answered your question but you deflected from the original point that this is the first truly balanced budget in a decade, maybe longer.

            1. A budget that puts the State $1.1 billion further in debt can hardly be called “balanced” when using an accounting definition- “equality between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account”. Nor is it reasonably considered “balanced” from a proportional definition- “harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole”. Walker’s budget a) creates deeper debt, and b) shifts more wealth upward while asking the least able to pay the bill. Finally, tax cuts/credits to corporations has NEVER created jobs; 30 years of history supports that. Jobs will increase supply, but this must be preceded by demand. “Demand” drives our economy, not supply. Put more income in the hands of those who need it least and you have a few people with fatter bank accounts; put more income in the hands of those who most need it and it is guaranteed they will spend it. They have to, just to survive. THAT is what will create jobs and, hence, greater income for ALL.

            2. “Better tax climate means jobs are created.”

              A fact that was borne out by all the jobs created during the Presidency of George W. Bush, especially towards the end of his two terms in office. GWB created 3 million jobs during his 8 years in office, which stands as the worst job creation record since his father, George H.W. Bush, who created 2.5 million jobs but did so in four less years in office.

              If tax cuts really create more jobs, then explain how the GWB tax cuts, which were some of the largest in history, didn’t create more than 375,000 jobs per year while GWB was in office.

              Hell, for as fond as you conservatives are of attacking Jimmy Carter’s record as president, Carter created more than twice as many jobs as GWB during Carter’s four years in office.

            3. Poor FMS – you’ll believe whatever line the CEOs feed you, eh? Good boy.
              Unfortunately I’ve got some bad news for you. While you continue to spew long-since debunked voodoo economic anecdote after anecdote without showing any evidence, we can conitnue to show you evidence upon evidence
              (continued below)

              1. JCG:
                Where is this evidence that you talk about?
                Employers have a choice it’s called free market, they don’t have to move to states that have a hostile tax environment.

                It’s class warfare socialists like you that got use into this mess.

            4. (continued)
              I’ll pose this simple question to test your silly hypothesis that more money in corporate pockets is good for jobs: since U.S. corporations raked in record profits last year, where are the jobs?
              Facts. They have a well-known liberal bias.

              1. And corporate tax revenues also hit a record high according to a link in the article you posted, they were up 31.8 billion from the prior quarter.

  2. I’m thankful for politicians like Rep. Barca and the WI Dems who believe in transparency. Debating, as in addressing the pros and cons of legislation under consideration, is actually the job of the state legislature. Looking forward to the recalls, particularly Walker’s, so we start fixing the damage the governor has done to this state.

    1. Not sure what you mean Molly. The budget was debated. Also Barca and WI Dems don’t believe in transparancy. They passed their budget bill within 24 hours without a public hearing. Their talk of transparency now is convenient because they aren’t in power.

  3. During the Doyle years the middle classed suffered as jobs left this state in record pace. The policies of taxing companies was a failure. Wisconsin is once again business friendly and hopefully companies will start to return and people who suffered under the Doyle administration and the failed taxation polices of the progressives in this state will slowly get back on their feet and no longer need state handouts to survive.

    1. I would like to know how it was that taxing companies as you say was a failure. Please provide citations to the studies that prove your contention. Then the conversation can proceed.

    2. Still waiting for your case, F. But after you do that, you can then justify why $800 billion in primary education and $500 in college education funds were cut only to pay for more handouts to the same corporations that benefit from a well educated population without raising a dime in taxes, just to say you didn’t raise taxes.

      I am a patient man. I have time. But sadly, our state doesn’t.

    3. Business friendly creates jobs? Well, Walker chased away jobs in the locomotive and train industry, and also in the wind power industry, and just passed a bill that will be a negative for the state’s craft brewing industry. In the first case he did so because he’s short-sighted, in the last two cases he did so at the behest of monied interests. Lots of jobs lost. He’s going to have to make that up somewhere.

  4. Recall! Recall!! So many ignorant people , don’t even know when they are getting screwed!

  5. @F Stevens – Do you happen to think there is any correlation of jobs “leaving” Wisconsin during Doyle’s administration with the collapse of the housing market and the recession? Do you thing that maybe there are 49 other states that experienced higher unemployment during this time period, regardless of what party their governor was from? Please share the specific acts Doyle implemented that raised corporate taxes? Before Walker added more tax cuts for corporations (paid for by the working poor, elderly, and our children’s education), 2/3 already paid NO state income tax. How much more of their share should the remaining tax payers pay for?

  6. What about your boy Doyle doing every controversial thing as Governor on a Friday afternoon as to minimize public notification. And are you really complaining about the Governor signing the budget on a Sunday? What are you thinking? What about democrats secretly trying to approving union contracts before there terms were up?

    Of course taxing companies is a failure. Companies won’t take a hit themselves they always will pass ther cost onto somebody else mainly the consumer. This is why corporate taxes are so backwards. Taxing companies make them want to move especially if their costs will be lower somewhere else. FACT


    1. You have a funny definition of progress. Only a conservative would think rolling back laws to where they stood 50+ years ago is progress.

    2. Corporations fought for and won the right to be treated as “persons”. As such, they have a responsibility to pay their fair share of taxes, just like the rest of us. They deserve no tax breaks, regardless of their ideological rationalizations. Yes, corporations will pass on the cost of their tax bills to the consumers – which is a sound reason to consider a “consumption tax” – and they will move their jobs to foreign countries – which is significant justification to boycott their products/services.

      We need to heed the warnings of our founding fathers: Thomas Jefferson warned against “the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations” and John Adams expressed belief that regardless of the fury and demands of the wealthy, a “more equal liberty than has prevailed in other parts of the earth should be established in America.” Corporations are not, and should not be considered “persons”.

      1. “Corporations fought for and won the right to be treated as ‘persons’. As such, they have a responsibility to pay their fair share of taxes, just like the rest of us…Corporations are not, and should not be considered ‘persons’.”

        So then using your own logic, since corporations should not be considered persons, they should not be taxed like persons.

        “They deserve no tax breaks”
        Persons get tax breaks — all sorts of persons: homeowners, married couples, low income, people with children, veterans, students… the list goes on and on.

        “Their fair share” — so tired of hearing that phrase because no one ever provides its meaning. What is fair? You already admit the cost of taxes is incorporated into the cost of the product. So I will be paying for that “fairness” one way or another. And that’s a good reason to look at spending cuts right there. Problem solved.

        1. C: “Corporations treated as persons”
          P: “Corporations should pay their fair share of taxes”

          Joe said something logically comparable to:
          C occurred
          if C, then P
          I believe ‘not C’ is appropriate

          forgotmyscreenname asserts that from Joe’s logic, we can conclude Joe believes ‘not P’ is appropriate.

          forgotmyscreenname is committing a logical fallacy. His assertion would be correct if Joe had said something akin to “Corporations should pay taxes if and only if they are treated as persons.” Joe did not say that. Joe has not implied he believes corporations should not be taxed like persons.

          1. If they have a responsibility to pay taxes because they are treated as persons, as Joe asserts, then I can rightfully conclude that such a responsibility ceases to exist if they are not treated as persons.

            If you have a responsibility to pay child support because you have a child, you would not have such a responsbility if you don’t have a child.

            1. That is because you have a responsibility to pay child support if and only if you have a child.

              Joe did not assert that corporations have a responsibility to pay taxes if and only if they are persons.

  7. The budget bill, packed with non-fiscal items, has been passed, and Walker now feels he can claim a victory for corporations and his donors. Well, hang on Mr. Walker ….. we’re going after all the seats in the legislature we can get with recalls, and then we’re coming for YOU!!

    1. It’s also a victory for me. My taxes won’t be going up and reckless spending debt won’t be passed on to the next generation. Thanks Governor Walker!

  8. Well said, Mr. Barca!

    To the rethugs posting here I offer a simple KMA. I’d try to respond with facts, but Zach and others have done that already, and as usual—none of you can accept facts and deal with reality. So, I’m left with shorthand invective. It doesn’t add to the discourse, but I feel better.

  9. I do believe it is time for the honest people of Madison to begin a boycott of Union Cab of Madison Cooperative.

  10. F Stevens…in case you didn’t catch it the first time…KMA. Union Cab is a terrific company and I’m proud that I worked there. Honest people love Union Cab. There are no honest rethugs, so any boycott you organize won’t affect the company’s business one bit.

  11. Seriously Zach, you better go back and read the Constitution. I’ve been teaching it for 4 years and NO WHERE does it allow any of the behaviors that Walker has distributed. They are what an American would call “unconstitutional”. It is unconstitutional to allow one group of people to have rights while another group cannot. (bargianing rights). He does not have the power to pick and choose who can do what. That power used to exist in the South for too many years. Remember the Civil Rights movement and the amendments dealing with civil rights?! Like I said please educate yourself and read the constitution that you so quickly use to support your weak argument.

    1. Lisa, the fact that you’re comparing collective bargaining rights to Jim Crow laws tells me all I need to know about your deeply flawed logic.

  12. Today was freedom day for unions no longer forced to join and lose money to the union bosses they are now free Americans no longer slaves

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