Budget FastFact: NEW BUDGET Public left in the dark

Public Left in the Dark on New Budget
Secret Deals Cut Behind Closed Doors in a Blow to Transparency in Government
  • The Governor introduced his Old Budget in Madison on February 17th in a televised statewide address before both houses of the State Legislature that lasted 33 minutes
  • The Old Budget was 1,743 pages long
  • The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee held six official public hearings around the state in Eau Claire, Sparta, Milwaukee, Racine, Appleton and Cambridge, at which members of the public testified on the Old Budget for a total of more than 45 hours
  • The Committee also held one public ‘listening session’ in Ashland, that, although not a formal hearing, also provided an opportunity for the public to comment on the old plan
  • Then, the Joint Finance Committee held seven public meetings in Madison, for a total of more than 22 hours and 40 minutes, during which the Committee was briefed by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau on specifics of certain areas of the Old Budget and wherein members took action in Executive Session voting to approve several items within the Old Budget
  • Since the last Joint Finance Committee meeting in Madison on May 12, the Committee co-Chairmen have canceled or postponed action on the Old Budget several times
  • Media reports indicate that instead of meeting in public, Governor Doyle, his staff, legislative leaders and the Joint Finance Committee co-Chairmen are meeting in private to craft a New Budget agreement to deal with Wisconsin’s fiscal condition, which suffers from a staggering $6.6 billion deficit
  • Despite the fact that the public has been kept in the dark on the spending decisions and tax and fee increases that will be included in the New Budget proposal currently being hammered out in private, the co-Chairman of the Joint Finance Committee continues to tell the public he intends to have the New Budget voted out of his committee ‘by the end of May’
  • The Old Budget proposed to increase spending by 10 percent and imposed nearly $2 Billion in new taxes and fees–no one knows what is in the New Budget
  • No public speeches, public hearings, Legislative Fiscal Bureau briefings, or public listening sessions have been scheduled wherein the public can examine and comment upon the New Budget
  • There are 11 days left until ‘the end of May’