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Senator Gives Assembly An F On Budget
WISCREPORT.COM (10/16/07) - If lawmakers got grades, the Wisconsin Assembly would get an “F” or worse, according to State Senator Roger Breske (D-Eland). The Senate approved the latest version of the Wisconsin budget and passed it on to the Assembly for action. However, this week the lower house failed to pass this version. Monday night (10/15/07), 53 of those State Representatives voted “no,” stalling the 2007-2008 state budget, again. That makes Wisconsin still the only state in the nation without a budget.
“Legislators were elected to make tough decisions, including compromising. On Monday night, 53 of those State Representatives voted “no,” stalling the 2007-2008 state budget. Any teacher would have to give them an incomplete,” Senator Breske says.
Even though he is upset with the Assembly over their part in arriving at a budget vote that stalls a new budget from getting full approval, the Northwoods lawmaker agreed that there were items in the two year budget he does not support.
“Clearly, there are items in this budget that I don’t like. That is the nature of a budget vote: one vote up or down. But it’s a compromise with give and take. That means you take some bad with the good,” explains Breske.
“I absolutely opposed the cigarette tax increase. I was horrified to learn the incredibly successful Homestead Tax Credit program was not expanded.”
On the other hand, Breske points out the good news for Northern Wisconsin. “Pupil transportation aids were increased; aid to small rural school districts increased; school breakfast increased; BadgerCare Plus expanded to include all of Wisconsin’s children and a much-needed 3% increase to local town road aids to keep our roads plowed and in good repair.”
In addition to those overall benefits statewide, Breske fought for and was successful in including among other items $54,000 to keep the Florence Wild Rivers Interpretive Center operating, assisted Crandon with up to $150,000 in emergency money in their sewer project that exceeded their budget, provided Armstrong Creek with $50,000 in funds to restore their historic bridge, earmarked $400,000 for the development of ATV trails, and created a lightweight utility vehicle pilot program.
“I am proud to be involved in passage of some of these critical items for communities in the Northwoods,” the veteran lawmaker stated. “Without them, services would be cut or additional levies imposed.”
“I don’t know if there has ever been a budget that I was fully behind,” continued the Senate Chairman of the Senate Tourism, Transportation and Insurance Committee, “but experience shows that negotiations work out for the benefit of the majority of our constituents. This budget process has been much more difficult, with the obvious reluctance by the Republican led Assembly leadership in Madison to broker a deal.”
Breske concluded, “I am extremely disappointed by the lack of action by the Assembly. With no attempt at amendments, they simply and foolishly turned a blind eye to the needs of the people of Wisconsin. We were sent to Madison to do our jobs. They failed to do so,” says Senator Breske.