The time to act is now.
No more stalling.
No more keeping your fingers crossed hoping that the big bad boogie men and women, known as Republicans, will just go away.
AB 506 and AB 507, the plans to fund schools, split shared revenue and keeping the property tax increases at the current levels, are not going away.
For months now, the Senate Democrats have demanded that Republicans and the taxpayers cave to massive tax increases in the new state budget.
Well, they have not caved.
When this entire process started, Senate Democrats had recently received a boost in political capital from the November 2006 elections. They now had control of the Senate in the state of Wisconsin.
That political capital could have carried Democrats a long way in budget negotiations with the governor and the state assembly.
When Governor Doyle first proposed the ’07 to ’09 budget, it was painfully obvious that there was a huge gap between the taxpayers of Wisconsin and the governor’s plan. Not only Republicans, but also the editorial boards across Wisconsin seemed stunned by the amount of tax increases in the governor’s budget.
This was an incredible opportunity for Senate Democrats to show their leadership skills and use some of the newly found political capital to bring this state together and close that gap.
Instead, as Senate Democrats, you decided to pander to your special interests groups (i.e. WEAC and the Road Builders) that helped you get elected. You wimped out on your campaign promises of fiscal conservatism.
The Democrats over-reached and destroyed their own political capital.
Senate Democrats immediately went out, created the Grand Canyon of all political gaps, and called it Healthy Wisconsin. Just to make matters worse, you also decided to add to even more tax increases in corporate taxes, which widened the gap even more.
The process of closing the budget gap between the taxpayers and their government must be done immediately.
DPI officials have set a deadline of this Friday as the last date for funding our schools at the new levels.
The Assembly Republicans and Democrats have already pushed the process forward so that the government can meet the requirements necessary to fully fund schools, fund local governments and protect the taxpayers.
Senate Democrats must act immediately, if they want to have any say in the funding of education, local governments and property taxes in this state.
Action must be taken now to avoid any problems that may pop up on this piece meal budget. There will be problems. Waiting until the last minute on Friday just looks bad.
Some Senate Democrats are holding out hope that perhaps meetings between the governor, Senator Robson and Speaker Huebsch will provide some answers. This appears unlikely to happen.
As it is, it appears as if the governor did not bother to stick around to help with the negotiations on the first day.
Senate Democrats- you are out of time and your political capital is spent. Pass the necessary legislation, NOW!
If you do not, Senate Democrats will be solely and completely responsible for a $600 million property tax increases.