January 28, 2009

Turner, Vos, Lehman respond to Gov. Doyle's budget address

Update: Rep. Bob Turner (and mayoral candidate) sent out his response to Doyle's speech on Thursday. Here it is:
State Representative Robert Turner (D-Racine) commented today that Governor Doyle’s State of the State address was a reality check for the residents of Wisconsin, many of whom are already suffering the effects of the country’s failing economy. In the face of the highest jobless rate in 20 years, soaring numbers of home foreclosures, and a $5.4 billion state budget deficit, the news from the Governor was sobering.


Turner applauded the Governor’s proactive response to the economic crisis as he traveled to Washington earlier this month to meet with President Obama’s team and key members of Congress. When Governor Doyle informed the Legislature that the economic stimulus package from the federal government will not solve all of the state’s problems, Turner stated that he understands the need for disciplined fiscal restraint, which will include cuts to some popular programs.

Representative Turner said he agreed with the Governor’s recommendations to require private insurers to cover treatment for autism, make improvements to childcare, make the third offense for drunk driving a felony, and revamp the school funding laws to encourage the hiring and retention of good teachers and standards to encourage efficiencies in our school districts. He said these are issues that do not require funding that will improve the lives of Wisconsin’s residents in the face of economic uncertainty.

“I will support the Governor in his efforts to lead Wisconsin through this unprecedented economic crisis,” said Turner.

Original post: Gov. Jim Doyle said the obvious Wednesday night: The state budget is in lousy shape. Doyle said the projected $5.4 billion deficit is actually worse, and that deep cuts are needed in state spending. (Oddly, this is the exact opposite approach of the federal government's $800 billion increase in spending. How's that for stimulus?)

State Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, and State Rep. Robin Vos, R-Caledonia, both responded to the governor's budget address. Here are their comments:

“Tonight we heard from Governor Doyle on the state of Wisconsin’s economy. He told us that the outlook is bleak and may get even bleaker based on new projections.

“While the Governor would have us believe that Wisconsin’s problems are only due to the downturn in the national economy, this is not the sole reason we have reached this level of deficit. Under Governor Doyle’s leadership over the past six years, he has grown the deficit from $3.2 to $5.4 billion through one-time funding gimmicks and massive expansions of government. As a result, we now have the 4th-largest budget deficit in the nation.

“As many look to the federal stimulus for solutions, Governor Doyle failed to offer any ideas on how to use the billions to lead Wisconsin out of this deficit or how he will put Wisconsinites back to work. He also made no mention of any measures he will take to ensure the money is spent in a transparent manner.

“There is a lot of work to be done over the next few months to craft a budget that Wisconsinites can afford. I am hopeful Governor Doyle will work in a transparent, honest and bipartisan manner to find solutions that create jobs and revive the economy without balancing the budget on the backs of Wisconsin citizens.”
“We all know that the struggling economy is causing hardships for families and working folks across Wisconsin. Tonight the Governor delivered some straight talk about how this crisis is also impacting our state’s finances and ability to deliver critical services people count on like education, health care and public safety.

These tough times require us to demand accountability from state programs, think creatively and be willing to work with our partners at the federal and local level to get our economy going again. The times also require us to make hard decisions, take tough votes and challenge special interests so that we restore fairness for protect middle class and working families, seniors and children in Wisconsin.

The coming months aren’t going to be easy but I’m confident that if we invest in and trust in the hard work, innovation and ability of the people of Wisconsin we’re on the road to recovery.”

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