The state budget, the first version of which was created by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, is being determined largely by Republican state senators and representatives.
A different view of the state budget was spotlighted by a Democratic state senator Saturday.
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D–Alma) held an event in the Platteville Municipal Building Saturday afternoon on what she considers a damaging budget being created by Republicans of the state. Vinehout held an appearance in Wauzeka earlier Saturday.
“A lot of things about Wisconsin’s budget seem really silly,” said Vinehout, who ran for governor in the 2011 recall election, considered running for governor in 2014, and is mentioned as a potential candidate in 2018. She filed the first notice of her running for governor earlier this week.
Vinehout brought up her concerns with several parts of the budget, including refundable tax credits being cashed in faster than expected, causing a decrease in revenue entering the general fund. That, she said, has been a factor in Wisconsin’s economic growth being slower than the nation’s economy as a whole.
Vinehout said she has qualms with Walker’s tax reduction plan that she says neglects to take into account the negative ramifications it would have on education.
“You can’t change taxes without having an impact on education,” she said.
In terms of educational funding, she described property taxes and state aid as a “teeter-totter;” since she said Walker isn’t willing to invest a sufficient amount of state funding into education. A reduction in property taxes would cause schools to suffer, she said, especially because she believes his plans will cause rural and impoverished schools to receive insufficient funding with wealthier schools getting more than their fair share.
Vinehout touted her plan of Medicaid expansion and supports the New Jersey model of investing more capital into mental health services and alternatives to incarceration. She said
See VINEHOUT page 3A υ
that even though the state is spending more money on health care now than in the past, there aren’t more people being served.
Vinehout said limiting BadgerCare would actually cost more because of cost-shifting fees; when the poor and uninsured go to emergency rooms and can’t afford to pay, that cost is passed onto the taxpayer, which she claimed is more expensive in the long run.
Vinehout ran against Walker in the recall election, losing in the Democratic primary to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Vinehout chose not to run for the position in 2014 because of an injury from a car crash.
When asked if she was running for governor, she said, “I’m actively exploring the possibility” of running for governor. She stressed her main concern was the budget.
Vinehout said her decision will have to be made by no later than April because she will have to choose whether to run for reelection for the Senate by that time, since her Senate seat is also up for election in 2018. She said she intended to make the decision well before then.
When asked how the Democratic Party could regain control of state government and specifically the Legislature given election losses in the past four statewide elections, Vinehout said there would need to be many conversations on the matter.
She said the party could hold a highly public primary that would include public forums so the population could ask candidates pertinent questions and choose people who could gain broad support.