The first shot came this morning from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair John Nygren, who called out the other Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair, State Sen. Alberta Darling, and accused her of lying about where the budget stood when it came to transportation issues.
Recent reports have the co-chair saying false statements claiming that the Speaker and Assembly Republicans want to “delay the Zoo Interchange to put pressure on the Senate to go along with a hike in the gas tax or registration fees.”"False statements"? "Disingenuous"? WOW! When arguably the two most important Republicans in the Assembly are laying the smack down on the highest-ranking Senate GOP in the Joint Finance Committee, it’s safe to say that there are some serious fissures in the GOP caucus regarding this budget. And Sen. Darling isn’t backing down from her claims, and she adds that a delay of the Zoo Interchange project "could jeopardize safety [and] harm our state’s economy."
Throughout the budget process, Assembly Republicans have put forth a position that the state must pay up front for its road improvements and not just run up the state credit card. However, we have been clear that we would not support an increase in the gas tax. As soon as it became known that the governor changed his position and would not support an increase in registration fees, that option was taken off the table. To say that Assembly Republicans are now pressing for both of these revenue enhancers would be incorrect. In fact, Alberta Darling is being disingenuous in making that characterization.
As Assembly Republicans move forward in the budget discussions, we want to ensure that any transportation reductions are felt equally across the state. Under the Senate plan, outstate legislators would feel the brunt of the cuts and many in our caucus don’t feel that option is fair. We are advocating for the best possible budget for all of Wisconsin and not just one area of our state. By working together, I know that we can arrive at solution in the near future.
The Zoo Interchange argument underscores that regional differences are starting to show through in these statements, as you can see from Vos' and Nygren's comment about not working for “just one area of the state.” This seems to be clear evidence that this budget is going down in flames outside of the cultural cesspool known as the GOP-voting Milwaukee suburbs (not coincidentally, the people who live in that cesspool are the ones who will benefit most from the Zoo Interchange project). And that attitude was reiterated in this brutal and likely race-based tweet from the number 2 GOP in the Assembly, Rep. Jim Steineke from the Fox Valley town of Kaukauna.
Given that our Governor is a product of that corporate slimeball/suburban Milwaukee bubble, it makes you wonder how disliked outside of the 262 he’s become, and how little legislators from outside that area might want to be associated with Walker’s plans.
Or maybe the GOPs knew that May’s jobs report in Wisconsin was going to be a disaster, with 12,200 total jobs lost including revisions, and they were feeling a bit bitchy. That awful report turns the spotlight onto their failed policies burn even brighter, and they’re not very good at explaining themselves under the bright lights of public attention. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach noted the absurd squabbling and other GOP meltdowns going on at the Capitol, and said these screw-ups also stem from who is not there.
"The public in-fighting between Senate and Assembly Republican leadership is of no benefit to the people of this state. It does show an inability to govern, even though there are overwhelming GOP majorities in both houses. The GOP throw down also underscores the real problem: The continued absence of a Governor in Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s failed and absent leadership is the root cause of unnecessary delay for this budget. Teleporting press releases on what he will and will not do from hundreds of miles away or sending a tweet with his veto threats is ridiculous. Governor Walker’s absence is a failure of epic proportions and there is no excuse for it at this point, not even a presidential one.”100% true, Jon. This is the fallout of a budget written by a Governor who cared much more about scoring points with Grover Norquist, the Koch Brothers, and other right-wing bubble-worlders than he did in improving the lives for the Wisconsinites who pay his salary. And he seems to have no interest in taking time out from his permanent campaign to work on the many problems and debates that have cropped up in the 4 ½ months since he handed in the budget.
- State Sen, Jon Erpenbach
And because the GOPs in the Legislature are also beholden to those special selfish interests over the people who elected them, it is making them incapable of working out this mess of a document, and trying to turn it into something that won’t totally screw up the state and their future electoral prospects. This group cannot handle the tough decisions of how to fund the state’s transportation (including raising the taxes to complete the road projects that you want to see done), or increasing wages to improve worker talent and demand for the state’s businesses, or considering responsible moves such as pausing a corporate tax cut that will cost this state $226 million in revenue in the next two years.
The AM radio and GOP primary worlds ain’t the real world in Wisconsin, and the weak-minded GOPs in the Legislature aren’t dealing very well with reality right now. Which is why they gotta go ASAP.