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Monday, May 09, 2011

WI Republicans Ramp Up Retrogression Before Recalls

Scott Walker and legislative regressives have apparently launched a new push to ram several years' worth of radical corpo-conservative agenda items through the Legislature over the next eight weeks before recall elections threaten to bring democracy back to state government.

• Strip collective bargaining rights
• Legalize concealed weapons
• Voter ID proposal
• Split the Madison campus from the UW System
• Deregulate the telephone industry
• Political redistricting map
• Expand school vouchers
• Undo early release for prisoners

None of it, including stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights is expected to save money or create any jobs.

More troubling news for Wisconsin municipalities.

Wisconsin municipalities building sewers or expanding sewage treatment plants in the next two years would pay up to $59 million more in interest costs to repay loans through the state's clean water fund, under a proposal approved by the Legislature's budget committee.

$5 million eliminated in bicycle and pedestrian funding

Siding with Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal, the Republican-dominated panel voted 12-4 Wednesday to remove state support for bicycle and pedestrian paths from the $6.4 billion transportation budget. That's a rollback from the 2009-2011 state transportation budget, which for the first time had applied gas tax revenues to bike and ped projects.

Wisconsin Environment Under Attack

The governor and GOP lawmakers have pushed more than a dozen initiatives that would reverse the course set by previous administrations.

Among the changes:

• Trying to eliminate mandatory requirements for recycling and the subsidies to local government that went with it.

• Weakening the state's commitment to wind power by making it more difficult for developers to meet siting requirements.

• Canceling a major state contract to burn homegrown biomass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

• Delaying costly water pollution rules to control weed-producing phosphorus in waterways.

Voter ID Costly - With $0 Return On Investment

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the law could cost more than $5.7 million to implement. That includes $2.2 million in costs for the Government Accountability Board (which includes education and outreach), almost $2 million for the Transportation Department (to cover employee expenses and the cost of free IDs) and more than $1.6 million if universities chose to remake student IDs.

Additional Info Voter ID: A research report by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute

Additional Reading: Publius No.9 Walker To Jam Extreme Right Crap Down Throats of Wisconsinites

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