By Representative Sandy Pasch, 10th Assembly District
Last week, the Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Finance Committee held its first public hearing on the proposed state budget. Instead of holding it in Milwaukee – where most of citizens affected by the new budget live – Republican leadership chose to hold it in the suburb of Greendale. With only three more hearings held by the Joint Finance Committee (the fewest number of budget hearings since 1985), it is clear that Republicans are choosing to ignore the Wisconsinites that will have to deal with the consequences of their budget choices every day.
I believe that in order to create a budget for the people of Wisconsin, we need to hear directly from the families that will be impacted – both in the 10th Assembly District and throughout our state. In order for the voices of all Milwaukee residents to be heard, my colleagues and I will be facilitating a number of public hearings throughout the city.
Our first budget hearing will take place on Saturday, April 20th from 11:00am until 2:00pm at the Milwaukee Public Schools Administration Building (5225 W. Vliet St.).
The majority of Milwaukee residents want a state budget that takes a balanced approach to help people who need it most. This includes providing effective relief for individuals and families who are working hard to make ends meet, while also making vital investments in public education, healthcare, public transportation, and other services that benefit all Wisconsinites.
Unfortunately, Governor Walker and legislative Republicans have again chosen to reward the rich and well-connected. They appear dead-set on continuing to harm our public education by freezing spending on public schools – schools that suffered historic cuts in the last budget. Milwaukee Public Schools has already been forced to increase class sizes and cut art and music classes. Republicans also continue to deny access to affordable healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents, as Gov. Walker’s budget will cut BadgerCare coverage for over 80,000 people. The Governor’s refusal to accept federal money, part of the Obama health reform, will seriously harm thousands of Wisconsinites. As a nurse, I know that the health of Milwaukee will be deeply affected by this unfortunate decision.
We need to give our undivided attention and efforts to creating family-sustaining jobs, investing in worker training programs, supporting quality public education, increasing access to affordable healthcare, and provide targeted relief to individuals and families who need it most. This is a balanced approach that not only everyday Wisconsinites need and deserve, but our future generations depend upon. I look forward to fighting for these priorities and meeting with communities across Milwaukee in order to ensure your voices are heard loud and clear during the budget process.
State Representative Sandy Pasch represents Wisconsin’s 10th Assembly District – which includes Milwaukee’s North Side and the Village of Shorewood – and serves as the Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader.