February 17, 2009

Budget adjustment bill passes on 12-4 partisan vote

The Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance voted Tuesday afternoon to approve the budget adjustment bill. It was a straight party-line vote; 12 Democrats voted yes and four Republicans voted no.

The bill now goes to the Senate. The Assembly tentatively is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday afternoon; Democratic leaders want to pass it quickly so Gov. Jim Doyle can sign it on Friday.

State Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, a member of Joint Finance, said "The economic and budget crisis demands quick action and new approaches, not the same old political posturing and gridlock. We all know the situation, real people and families are hurting in Racine County and all across Wisconsin. Our action today shows we’re ready to tackle our problems to help Wisconsin families now."

Among the highlights of the bill, according to Lehman, are:
  • Create new jobs by accelerating road construction projects, including I-94 reconstruction in Racine County and invest in expanded worker training programs in high demand areas like welding and emerging green economy professions;
  • Establish legislative oversight to ensure federal economic recovery funds are spent wisely;
  • Encourage private sector job creation and investment by expanding state angel investment and other economic development tax credits;
  • Expand the available pool of capital for new construction of research and development facilities in Wisconsin;
  • Help families victimized by predatory lending schemes keep their homes and enact new consumer protection measures;
  • Make over $700 million in deficit reductions through state spending cuts and closure of corporate tax loopholes - not by increasing income or property taxes;
  • Create additional investigator positions and implement accountability measures to crack down on fraud in the Wisconsin Shares child care assistance program;
  • Capture more federal dollars for Wisconsin to increase reimbursement rates for hospitals and reduce cost shifting on to private pay consumers.
Lehman said the bill will create over 8,300 new jobs and new economic growth, protect homeowners and start the process of balancing our budget "not on the backs of Wisconsin families but by cutting state spending and closing corporate tax loopholes.”

1 comment:

  1. "Expand the available pool of capital for new construction of research and development facilities in Wisconsin"

    . . . to be manned by high-salaried people who know nothing about R&D. There are PLENTY of R&D facilities in this state and PLENTY of scientists, many currently out of work, who are well-qualified to do the work.

    Salaries and materials for them? Nahhh - let's build a bunch of incubators.