Thursday, February 17, 2011


There were student rallies at the U-W Eau Claire campus yesterday and today. (Today's followed a walk-out). Many schools are closed for today as public employees have called in sick. 10-12,000 people came to protest Walker's "budget repair" bill, that includes taking away collective bargaining rights of public employees in the state where unions were formed. I'm hearing reports that yesterday there were 30,000. The last time so many people descended on Madison to protest, it was the Vietnam War.

I am so proud of our students who are speaking up in front of crowds, celebrating their wonderful education at the K-12 and university levels. My whole building is abuzz with collective, angry energy. There is a feeling that we're all in this together.

See the article below, pointing out that the State had a surplus when Gov. Walker arrived a month ago. Now we have a deficit:

“Wisconsin is managing better -- or at least it had been managing better until Walker took over. Despite shortfalls in revenue following the economic downturn that hit its peak with the Bush-era stock market collapse, the state has balanced budgets, maintained basic services and high-quality schools, and kept employment and business development steadier than the rest of the country. It has managed so well, in fact, that the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus.” In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million. [evidence is provided in document] ... To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist.”

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