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Quick Thoughts On Wisconsin State Assembly Budget Vote

October 15, 2007

As I sat in the Wisconsin State Assembly gallery on Monday night it was apparent to me what was missing from the proceedings. (Besides a stiff drink for anyone crazy enough to be sitting and watching in the gallery!)

Not enough mature adults on the floor, and not enough concerned citizens in the gallery.  There is a shortage of good will everywhere in the Statehouse, but no shortage of abusive language or bad behavior.

As one lobbyist told me Monday night after the vote it is a complete mystery how the impasse created by the GOP will be brought to an end.  With the State Senate passing another version of the budget, and the Assembly Republicans torpedoing the same version, there is still a chasm as deep and wide as existed at any time this year.  The state of Wisconsin is in a ‘frightful place”, according to this source.

Another conversation I had in the Statehouse Monday, this time  with a Democratic lawmaker, made a point that I have heard for weeks.  Back in March when the GOP started to rumble with ‘what happens if we just do not pass a budget’ should have been the time to take more seriously this potential threat.  It could have been handled more aggressively by the Democrats.  But how many sane people thought the GOP would treat the citizens of Wisconsin in so cavalier a manner?  How many truly thought the GOP would throw this much dirt for their own political gain?

I have thought all along in the process that the anger from the voters will be the key to getting the GOP off their hypocritical high horses, and force them to deal with the mess at hand.  That ratcheting up of the anger in the state is brewing.  People I talked with over the weekend that are not ‘political’ are truly upset by the lack of willingness among the GOP to stop playing politics with financial affairs and the state budget. 

The voters in the state always say they want lower taxes.  But more than that they want their government to work and function.  They want some collegiality among the elected officials who seem so trustworthy and proper at election time, and then so childish and boorish when it comes to crunch time in office.  They want results delivered with professionalism.  They want less rancor and more results.

It may seem to the GOP in the fall of 2007 that their antics now are smart politics as they work to undo the budget process.  I have a feeling this move by the conservative wing of the party will not only jeopardize their power in the fall of 2008, but more importantly carry some swing seats to the Democrats.  Perhaps just enough to tilt the Assembly, as the Senate was so moved in 2006.

But from the rumblings I heard on Monday there are some shaky Democrats that need to hear from their constituents.  These Democrats need to be reminded not to kneel to the political power play by the GOP.  There are some in the Democratic caucus that are not made of steel and principle, and need to be reminded that they are there to support the real voters…everyday average Wisconsinites…..and not cave in to the GOP special big moneyed corporate interests.

More and more citizens are going to become active listeners to the actions from under the Statehouse dome.  In these frenzied and crazy days the actions by each party will not only shape a budget (or torpedo one) but will also cast the first glimpse of what election night might reveal in November 2008. 

P.S. Could anyone please explain what State Representative Frank Lasee meant last night when he took to the Assembly floor?  I like to consider myself educated, but I was lost.  I think most of his audience was too.  Is that how he talks in his district?  YIKES!

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  1. October 17, 2007 8:18 PM

    Ahh…good roads, better schools, the UW…just to name three.

    I know our quality of life is better here than in low tax states.

  2. Pat permalink
    October 17, 2007 7:58 PM

    I wasn’t there so I don’t know what Frank Lasee said but I suspect that trying to explain it to you would be a waste of time anyway. It is apparent by your ramblings that you prefer to associate only with people who agree with you. What you might consider is what do Wisconsin taxpayers get for their high taxes that citizens of other states don’t get for theirs? Is our economy and our quality of life really that much better than all the other states with lower taxes?

  3. October 16, 2007 11:47 AM

    The government will NEVER “work and function” as long as the special interests are funding the political elections. Let’s see where Lasee comes in when public funding of campaigns hits the floor.

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