Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You're Against "Policy" in a "Budget Bill" You Say?

If only I had a dime for every time a Wisconsin Republican lamented "putting policy in a budget bill". While Governor Doyle was in office they constantly repeated the mantra like a cadre of broken records. If we didn't before, we now know that this right wing frothing was nothing but phony political posturing. If the concern was ever genuine, then why are some of the same people feigning outrage before standing behind Scott Walker's "budget repair bill" now? Because it is stuffed with radical right wing policy.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau put together a memo listing various policy items in Walker's "budget" bill. It includes a variety of new policies in the areas of Children & Family services, Health Services, the State Civil Service System and repealing collective bargaining rights for public employees (even on issues that have nothing to do with pay/benefits and don't impact the state budget in any way).

One of the extreme items that Walker has included in this bill involves yet another power grab that I've only heard a few people talk about. In his bill Walker is seeking to create and personally fill new political appointee positions. Primarily these Walker appointees would replace any legal council at the various state agencies. Apparently he doesn't want anyone but a loyal political appointee rendering "legal" decisions. No doubt that will help make their conclusions fit his predetermined political agenda.

The bottom line is that there are a ton of extreme and overreaching policy items stuffed into this bill and the same Republican hypocrites that were complaining about the tactic months ago are employing it now. For just one example, take former Republican Speaker Mike Huebsch's (now in the Walker cabinet) comments in 2007:

"If it is good policy, it should go through the regular process. It should come in as legislation, it should go through committee hearings, and have a stand-alone vote in the Legislature."

Now this phony is busy pimping himself to help fast track Walker's "budget bill" which is not only fully infused with policy but the kind of extreme policy that fundamentally changes at least 50 years of Wisconsin law. Not to mention that the bill is totally unprecedented in how Walker is trying to seize power that currently doesn't exist in the office of the governor. Mike Huebsch, can you tell me again why you are were so against the idea of policy being included in a budget bill? What has changed besides the party affiliation of the governor's office?

Huebsch certainly isn't alone, there is a whole parade of right wing hypocrites on this issue. People like Republican Robin Vos have repeatedly "offered nasally diatribes against the use of 'non-fiscal policy' items in state budgeting." Thank goodness someone took a moment in today's rushed hearing to point out his total hypocrisy and to get it formally on the record.

This is the queen of all policy-infused budget bills and that suddenly doesn't seem to bother anyone on the far right.

No comments: