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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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 Post subject: State Budget
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:10 pm 

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A letter in the July 14, 2009, Tomahawk Leader:

The Wisconsin legislature and Gov. Doyle recently completed the State budget before the July 1 deadline for the first time in 32 years. We now have a balanced budget that closes a projected $6.6 billion revenue shortfall that was brought on by our ailing world economy. I would like to congratulate Gov. Doyle and legislators from both sides of the aisle that worked diligently toward accomplishing this monumental and difficult goal. …
During the budget process, the bi-partisan joint finance committee left Madison to hold public hearings all across the state. … I think it’s important that we thank the 3,000 private citizens who devoted their volunteer time to testify at those hearings and become an integral part of the budget debate. …

Unfortunately, now that the difficult decisions have been made. We have some entrenched politicians pointing fingers and blaming Gov. Doyle for the global economy and the difficult budget decisions that they themselves helped make. … They seem to believe loud criticism rather than ideas and solutions will provide the best strategy for their own political advancement in the 2010 election. They’re claiming to have been victimized and shut out of the process, rendered impotent by the majority party to participate in this budget cycle. I’m not sure that claiming to be a victim, and rendered impotent to do your job is a good strategy for working people like you and I to use during our annual employment review. …

Do you recall two years ago when these folks were the majority party? The budget did not get accomplished until October. … It was a circus similar to the one California is performing right now. Our legislators finally passed the Wisconsin budget in time to go home and campaign for re-election. That may be why they’re in the minority now.

Criticism from the politician I find most appalling is that from Rep. Donald Friske from the 35th Assembly District, of which I am a constituent. On June 26, the Assembly debated and passed its final version of the most important bill of any legislative cycle. … Rep. Friske did not vote for or against the bill. In fact, he did not even enter the discussion because he was the only legislator absent from his workstation on that Friday afternoon. He did not cast a vote on behalf of we the people who elected him, pay his salary and provide his government run healthcare. We in the 35th Assembly District are still very conspicuous by our absence in this important process and I think we deserve to know why. … Our State Sen. Jim Holperin listened to his constituents, and took on his own party and the special interest groups regarding the Joint and Several Liability provision in the budget bill. Sen. Holperin prevailed on our behalf; Sen. Holperin is an advocate for us. Conversely, Friske … did not show up to represent us, yet he is compelled to criticize decisions that had to be made in his absence. …

Jay Schmelling

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