Chris Larson
Press Release

Republicans betray Wisconsinites by passing a state budget that fails to invest in our traditional, shared values

Statement from Senator Larson on Passage of Republican’s Backwards Budget

By - Jul 8th, 2015 12:02 am

MADISON – Today, Senator Larson released the following statement after Senate Republicans forced through a special interest budget that surrenders to the demands of the most extreme Tea Party factions while making it harder for our neighbors to get to and stay in Wisconsin’s middle class:

“Tonight, Tea Party legislators again returned to their failed slash and burn policies that are bankrupting opportunity in our state and decimating our middle class. It’s like watching a bad rerun: the glamor is gone, the plot is predictable, the dialog is dated, and you’re just left with bad actors stuck in the past. It’s no wonder they tried to keep the public in the dark with their 999 secrecy motion.

“Once again, Republicans are following Governor Walker’s lead by picking corporate special interests and personal political ambitions over the our traditional Wisconsin values by cutting $250 million from our UW System and doing nothing to address the values deficit they created in education just a few years ago. At the same time, this budget continues to allow more taxpayer-funded, for-profit voucher schools to operate by expanding the unaccountable voucher system statewide, despite the known failures within the system. Under the policies by these Tea Party Republicans we are also dead last in the nation in our investment in children with special needs. To make matters worse, the Republican budget directly attacks hardworking families by diminishing wages for our neighbors who build our schools and bridges.

“In contrast, Democrats offered an exciting vision for Wisconsin that would invest in K-12 educational opportunities; maintain strong university system; and ensure family-supporting wages, good jobs, clean air, drinkable water, open and transparent government, and affordable health care.

“Governor Walker has made it clear he places his own ambitions over ensuring financial security and prosperity for his own Wisconsin neighbors. The choices made in this budget betray our neighbors across Wisconsin by spending a historical amount for big highway projects and choosing to make sweetheart deals rather than creating a better quality of life for the majority of citizens in our state. As a result, Wisconsin’s middle class is shrinking faster than in any other state and we are last in the nation for new business start-ups.

“Legislative Republicans had the opportunity to reverse this and take a leadership role with Democrats to craft a budget that would focus on improving access to the middles class by investing in our shared values. Instead, Republicans rushed to rubberstamp the Walker agenda of doing more of the same – giving favors to special interests and less opportunity for working families.

“This rerun Republican budget is a repeat of failed schemes and extends a values deficit by choosing campaigns over classrooms, highways over high schools, and borrowing over Bucky. It is time to try a new channel.”

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15 thoughts on “Republicans betray Wisconsinites by passing a state budget that fails to invest in our traditional, shared values”

  1. Alene Bidwell says:

    Chris, while everything you point out is right, it’s the people who voted these guys into office that will need to get hurt bad by their policies for them to change who they vote for. For some, even though they are getting hurt by these policies, they will still not vote for anything different. Why? I wish I knew, but apparently self-preservation is not in their DNA. We don’t need all of them to vote a different way, just enough to swing the balance in Madison; make it more balanced for a greater chance of economically sound policies to be implemented.

  2. David says:

    The WI downward spiral continues and looting by Republicans for their benefactors at the expense of all tax paying citizens.

  3. Will says:

    the only looting going on is by the unions from the general public. $63k plus great benefits for a bus driver? Then they cry poor? What a joke. Us private sector schlubs who foot the bill for the bloated public employees are the ones being screwed.

  4. PMD says:

    Have you ever been a bus driver Will? What makes you an expert on what they are worth? And how exactly is the average salary of a bus driver the reason you are poor?

  5. Alene Bidwell says:

    If you had paid attention you would know that the $63K salary for the bus drivers includes a lot of overtime. But, you were not paying attention. Some of the main issues they are holding out for is not an increase in salary or benefits but other reasons such as safety and bathroom breaks. Guess you missed that too. Many of those public servants could make more money in the private sector. I guess you don’t keep up with that information either. In addition, many of those so-called public servants live on $25K a year and have hadn’t a decent raise for many years; I believe they all of 1% this year. But you are only paying attention to the ones who make the larger salaries aren’t you. Since you are so poor, maybe you should go back to school for new skills so you can make a better wage. I did. But, what with the way wages are being cut in Wisconsin, I wouldn’t bet on it. Maybe you might think about moving to another state where they don’t have right-to-work and companies pay living wages. You know that they believe $7.25 is a living wage in Wisconsin don’t you. You do the math on that one and tell us if you can live on it because tens of thousands of people do.

  6. A busdriver says:

    @ Will; It’s foolish haters like you that are willing to cut off your nose in spite of your face espousing typical Tea Party talking points because you can’t think for yourself . Do you have any clue how hazardous driving a bus is? Oh I’m sorry of course you don’t critical thinking is not something you do. Let me help you out. Safety issues & bathroom breaks is a big deal for us. Bladder & kidney problems are so common it is a worker’s comp claim. Think what the cost of that alone is not just in dollars but quality of life. I’ll bet you can go to the restroom whenever you need to at your job without hearing a ration of crap about it. Think about how you drive when there is a bus on the road with you & remember they are experts in defensive driving. We save more lives & prevent more accidents than you know. Think on that the next time you speed up to pass a bus about to make a lane change because you don’t want to be behind them even though it is dangerous for you to do so or the next time you pullout in front of a bus because you don’t want to wait & you think it’s moving slow when in fact it’s moving much faster than you think but, you don’t get rear-ended because of the instinct of a seasoned driver. Think about the toll that takes on a person physically. These couple of points are just the tip of the iceberg there is PLENTY more.

  7. Will says:

    @ a busdriver

    First off, I am probably way more politically liberal than you are. So enough with the Tea Party label ’cause it don’t apply to me sir. I am just a guy who knows b.s. when he sees it, ESPECIALLY when it comes to business. And you my friend, are slinging b.s.

    “Do you have any clue how hazardous driving a bus is?. . . Safety issues & bathroom breaks is a big deal for us.”

    Wow, I mean, smh, I don’t know what to say. Let’s just say I don;t think those are big issues. Especially, compared to other way more hazardous jobs that make way less than bus drivers. I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    “We save more lives & prevent more accidents than you know.”

    If this were true, unions would be shouting it from the rooftops, but ok, I will take your word for it. I guess all the crazy aggressive bus drivers I see are an enigma and not the norm.

  8. Tom D says:

    The County can’t do much regarding the bus driver salaries because of federal law )49 USC 5333[b]) says that any transit system accepting federal money (and they all do because the feds cover 80% of the cost of a $350,000 40-foot bus) must:
    • preserve “rights, privileges, and benefits … under existing collective bargaining agreements”
    • continue collective bargaining rights
    • assure their employment

    That means they cannot be included in Act 10 (even if they were public employees). It means they can strike and and cannot be fired for striking.

    It’s not just Milwaukee or Wisconsin. The average Metra commuter train operator in Chicago makes about $100,000.

    You can’t blame union members for exercising their rights under the law. You would do exactly the same thing if you were in their situation.

  9. A busdriverc says:

    @ Will : You know nothing about driving a bus & it shows with your comments. The fact that you think the Union would need to state the obvious about the millions of miles coach operators drive on a daily basis speaks for itself. If you really think what I have stated is BS then read the article in the link to make an informed comment on bus drivers.

  10. PMD says:

    Hey Will I am still waiting. Have you ever been a bus driver? What makes you an expert on what they are worth? And how exactly is the average salary of a bus driver the reason you are poor?

  11. Will says:

    No, I’ve never been a bus driver and no I am definitely not poor. I am not looking out for myself when I say they are over paid, I am looking out for those in need who could use the public dollars that are being given to public workers thanks to the hip to hip relationship between unions and govt officials. The 99% are the ones getting screwed, not me. Is there some sort of secret work bus drivers have to do that I should know about? Ive ridden buses all over WI and the world and think (thought?) I had a pretty good grip on the job of a bus driver, but who knows maybe they have to build bridges between stops.

  12. Will says:

    I should add my best friends dad is a Mwke bus driver.

  13. Tom D says:

    Will, nothing is stopping the 99% from applying for bus driver jobs. If these jobs are cushy, easy, and overpaid, why aren’t people standing in line to apply?

  14. PMD says:

    OK that’s what I thought Will. You don’t really know what you are talking about. And the state has far bigger problems than the average salary of a bus driver. But please keep spouting off nonsense, nonsense you are unqualified to spout off about. It allows others to identify those not worth taking seriously.

  15. A busdriver says:

    @ Will : Saying my best friends father is a bus driver is as meaningful as I have a actor friend so I know all about the industry. Trust me bus drivers are hardly overpaid in Milwaukee or most other cities. That driver’s seat that those think is so cushy will hurt you & has the great potential to kill you. Did you even read the article from the link posted? I doubt it. Riding a bus is by no means a qualifies you to know about the job no matter where you have been a passenger. The snarky comment on building bridges is pretty disrespectful to your best friend & his father. Does your friend know you think his father is overpaid & a joke? I doubt it but, then again I think you are not being truthful. I really am a bus driver in another state & I am from Milwaukee so I do know what I am commenting about.

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