I'm sure that many of you didn't watch his address on tv (I streamed it over the internet) or have read the 400 page bill that is so full of things that have nothing to do with the budget that is scary. However, I just want highlight some of the key points of his bill. Let me know you think Scott Walker's Budget Bill will do for Wisconsin:
- Counties, municipalities no longer need to have recycling programs, and state aid supporting them is slashed.
- Wisconsin Dept of Commerce? Abolished.
- Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation will be getting the money instead. And it's privatized. And I thought I read somewhere that Scott Walker would appoint people to it. (Though I could be wrong with that).
- Municipal govts' aid will be slashed by $96 million in 2012 alone – 12% per municipality on average.
- State aid to tech colleges? Cut by $71.5 million. Counties / tech college districts are prohibited from raising taxes to cover the gap.
- UW-Madison, UW system slashed by $250 million over two years.
- UW-Madison to be spun off from the rest of the UW system with a new board of 21 regents, 11 of whom will be appointed by Walker. (Since those people will need to be paid, I'm not sure how an extra board saves WI money).
- UW system schools to be cut by 11% each
- UW Hospitals and Clinics: completely defunded.
- K-12 Schools:
- 180 day mandated school year? Gone.
- Reading instruction offered by reading specialists? Not anymore.
- Charter schools' teachers no longer need certification. (What this means is that I could come teach your kids in WI. I have them min requirements which is a bachelor's degree. What I don't have is teaching experience or even classroom management experience. But in WI, that will be okay).
- Milwaukee voucher school program expands to the suburbs, likely increasing the amount of money spent here… money that's going to privatized schools with little to no oversight or accountability, because the voucher schools will be exempted from test scores that could illustrate whether they actually have a meaningful impact on performance.
- Districts are prohibited from closing the funding gap with tax increases
- State aid is decreasing to 2003 levels. It's a 7-8% cut on average on top of the deficits they were already facing.
- Grant programs which fund Advanced Placement (AP) courses, school nurses, alcohol & drug abuse prevention, and science/technology/math classes will be ended.
- The Employee Trust Funds – which are 100% funded by state employees, not by the state (see the Forbes article) – will be raided to cover the state's share of employee health insurance premiums. Basically, they will be getting a wage cut, AND their pension fund will be decreased, thus breaking the terms of all previous contracts with the state. (Not sure how that would even be legal).
- Dept of Corrections: slashed by $22.7 million in 2011-12, $30 million in 2012-13. Two juvenile prisons will close – juveniles will be consolidated or housed in adult prisons.
- $439 million in debt payments is pushed out to future budgets
- Medicaid – relied on by the low-income and disabled – slashed by $500 million between 2011-13.
- Seniors who want to enroll in the state's prescription drug plan (SeniorCare) cannot also be enrolled in the federal govt's Medicare Part D.
- Tourism funding is increased (to $12.5 million in 2011-12, $15 million in 2012-13)
- $420 million is earmarked for the Zoo interchange project in Milwaukee County
I have to thank my friend Elissa for compiling a lot of these statistics of the bill for me. Walker also wants to repealed a law requiring insurers in Wisconsin to cover birth control when they cover things like Viagra. Also, he is de-funding (along with numerous other health programs) Wisconsin Well Woman, a program that provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings to low income women over 50.
I'm still researching what's in the 400 pages, but this is a good chunk of it. If you know more of what's in this bill, let me know in the comments and I'll include it in this post.