The headline just says it all. Things are so bad here in the Legislature that the newspaper is begging Scott Walker to come home, if only for a short time.
This isn't from The Onion, but from the most highly read Wisconsin newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. One that has endorsed Scott Walker, tends to ignore his bad news, and prints his talking points like Gospel.
But here in Wisconsin, the budget he proposed last winter is foundering, and not because of Democratic opposition but because his Republican colleagues can't come to terms. Last week, Republican leaders were sniping at each other over whether Assembly Republicans wanted to delay the reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange to build pressure for increasing the gas tax or vehicle registration fees.
The impasse is apparently over how to pay for the transportation budget and how to finance a deal for a new arena in downtown Milwaukee. These are big issues, and they deserve Walker's attention. In addition, as an editorial on Friday on this page noted, there are a host of items in the budget that simply shouldn't be there. Mainly, they're non-budget items sneaked into the budget with little discussion or public input, a practice that candidate Walker decried in 2010. In an informal Journal Sentinel poll last week, readers overwhelmingly were giving the Legislature an F grade on its handling of the budget.
(bolding is mine)
I've also written about the mayhem that Republican Legislators brought to the budget process while Walker has been out campaigning (unannounced) for President. And, in an editorial last week, the newspapers' editorial staff seemed to agree.
But there's another problem with this budget: It's so full of non-budget dead weight that it's kind of amazing it doesn't just sink of its own accord.
On their own, many of these items are worthy of discussion and may be even worthy of passage. But most are policy matters that have little or nothing to do with the state's fiscal books. They deserve full and separate consideration — including public hearings and a healthy public debate — before they become law. Instead, they've been quietly inserted into the budget, often in the wee hours, to avoid public scrutiny. Citizens should demand they be removed from the budget; legislators should have the decency to do so.
(bolding is mine)