In addition to the removal the Milwaukee County provisions mentioned above, the second amendment that was passed has a number of other odds and ends that do some modifications to rules and the bottom line. The one that rightfully is getting the most attention is the removal of prevailing wage requirement, a move I find to be idiotic because when you are dead last in the Midwest weekly manufacturing wage and job growth, lowering wages is the LAST thing you should be doing to change that result. But then again, WisGOP, Walker and the Kochs are about nothing else in the last few years if not being in favor of giving more power to corporations and business owners over the everyday wage-earner (who is the REAL job creator). At this point, I just seethe and roll my eyes at these regressive fuckheads.
But another intriguing measure concerns the UW System, where they do a bit of creative accounting in year 2 of the state budget.
Increase the UW System’s GPR general program operations appropriation by $25,000,000 in 2016-17. In addition, require the UW System to lapse $25,000,000 from its GPR general program appropriation to the state’s general fund on July 1, 2016.So if I’m reading this right, the UW System is supposed to give up $25 million that may be left over at the start of FY 2016-17, but gets all that money back during the same fiscal year, meaning a net change of $0. Seems sort of lame (and possibly damaging to cash flow this time next year), but it does increase the base amount for the '17-'19 budget, which might explain why UW System President Ray Cross said
We greatly appreciate the support of Sen. Petrowski and all of the Senate members who voted in support of making $25 million of the UW System funding reduction a lapse. This will significantly improve the fiscal condition of our campuses into the future. It is one more demonstration of how our new partnership with the legislature is helping keep public higher education in Wisconsin a priority."Our new partnership with the legislature"? What a gutless statement from the president of a university system that contributes a helluva lot more to the state economically and socially than it takes out, but sits back and accepts massive cuts for no reason other than anti-intellectual spite and prior budget screw-ups by the same leaders who caused the problem in the first place. Compare the UW to organizations like WEDC or WMC or the vast majority of the corporates and special-interest lobbyists that have been given every break by the folks at the Capitol during the Age of Fitzwalkerstan, and yet has added basically nothing in return and made the state into an economic laggard. Why the hell hasn’t Cross hammered on this obvious point, and in a related question, how does this guy still have his job?
I also want to thank State Rep. Terese Berceau for noting another provision on voucher schools that looks an innocuous one-sentence clarification, but really isn’t.
Modify Joint Finance action to specify that the provision requiring a private school participating in the statewide private school choice program to have been in continual operation as a private school since May 1, 2013, would apply in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years only.As Berceau pointed out on her Facebook page, this means that under current law, anyone could open up their own voucher school starting in 2017-18, and get dollars from state taxpayers. This would be true even if the school has no record of hiring staff, test scores, or even has a building. Another provision allows for the new MPS “charter czar” could now allow any type of operator to run a school in the new program that gives money to those people over the everyday MPS schools, expanding it beyond the independent “2r” charter schools that were in the original bill. Both clauses are classic cases of sticking the camel’s nose under the tent to make vouchers bigger for the future, and convicted criminal Scott Jensen’s investment in GOP legislators pays off again. If I were a Dem running in 2016, I might bring these bills up to the voters, especially in rural Wisconsin.
Yes, the Senate's removal of changes to laws on open records, Milwaukee County governance and public employees’ retirement board is a good thing, and in all, this brutal budget was slightly improved yesterday. But that doesn’t mean there also weren’t some bad things thrown in as well, it still leaves the overall document as a "dumpster fire" (in the great words of Rep. Andy Jorgensen), and it still doesn't mean there won't be serious damage done to our state's way of life in the wake of the Assembly's likely intact passing of this garbage tonight.