Usually I begin this column with a local person’s question or comment. Today’s column is entirely quotes of people testifying on the Governor’s budget last Saturday.
“Wisconsin has a proud tradition of allowing its people to care for people -services to children, disabled, seniors and education to people of all ages... The Governor wants to be ‘open for business’ but he is not looking at the big picture... Wisconsin is quite unique in the quality of life it offers citizens,” -- Accountant who moved from Texas to Wisconsin.
“Our education system is outstanding. Wisconsin is a wonderful place to live. I have lived in many other states and it is not like this.” -- Local Grocer.
“We are being treated like we are naughty children. But we take our responsibilities very seriously. We have cut thirty positions. We’ve eliminated dozens of services. We need ‘tools’ that really work.” -- City Council member.
“Eau Claire is an innovative and progressive county. We use performance budgeting and expect to see outputs and results. If programs are not making it they are eliminated or restructured. We keep looking for ways to save the taxpayers money ... We support a variety of programs in the community because they save the taxpayers dollars in the long run.” -- County Board Supervisor.
“Cutting prevention programs will not save money, it will only cost money.” -- Public Health Worker.
“We are looking at 30% cuts to personnel and another 30% cut to roads. The Governor is telling local elected officials I have the ‘tools’ but every tool in the tool box has the word ‘screw’ in it.” -- County Board Supervisor.
“Our jails and prisons are full of people with mental illness. We should invest in the [drug] courts because they save so much money.” -- JONAH member.
“We should put the savings from the work done on keeping the mentally ill out of prison in an account and show the people how much money is saved with drug court... I wish you could see the faces of the lives changed.” -- Brain injury survivor.
“Senior Care is not a program that needs to be fixed! Making people go to Medicare Part D will cost seniors more. They can raise rates dramatically - from $20 a month to $40 a month.” -- Elderly Benefits Advisor.
“My daughter was informed services would be cut in the Birth to Three Program. The insurance company does not cover any of these services.” -- Grandmother of young child with cerebral palsy.
“This is slamming the door shut for the people who need the services the most.” - County Board Supervisor.
“The ‘tools’ we have to deal with the [budget] issues are not adequate... People don’t have access to computers so they are going to libraries in increasing numbers.” -- President, Winding Rivers Library System.
“This cuts the Tech Colleges by 30%. We graduate 400,000 students a year and place 94% of them in jobs. We already have 1,400 people on a waiting list.” -- CVTC board member.
“Cutting off the UW Madison from the UW system is like cutting off the head of the horse and expecting it to run.” -- Extension Committee member.
“I make $11.57 an hour. I am losing 50% of my first paycheck every month... I would have liked to go to the Joint Finance Committee hearings but I can’t because of the price of gas.” -- Custodian.
“I thought the Governor’s budget proposals wouldn’t affect me. I am not a union worker nor do I have any union workers in my family. But this week I was laid off because of the budget cuts. I am 60 and graduated magna cum laude at the age of 56. It is going to be very hard for me to find a job.” -- Fall Creek resident.
“Eliminating the requirement for cost effectiveness studies is just plain dumb. Just like the selling off of power plants.” -- Eau Claire resident.
“You know ‘Eau Claire’ means ‘clear water.’ Our college students love playing in the river. Thirty years ago the rivers were so bad you couldn’t go into the rivers. We don’t want to go back to those days.” -- Worker on Water Street.
“International mining companies are coming to Trempealeau County. If Trempealeau County loses any more resources the very people who oversee this [mining] will lose their ability to protect the environment and the health of the people... We need to make choices for the good of our community.” -- County Supervisor.