Thursday, July 16, 2009

State Budget Reform Measures Picking Up Support and Gaining Momentum

Press Release
July 16, 2009


Jay Heck – 608/256-2686


Newspaper Editorials Back Reform; Citizens Must Also Weigh In

With one reform success under our belt in June and a new move toward elevating other needed political reforms in Wisconsin gaining traction, the "dog" days of Summer have been anything but sleepy.

There is increasing support and momentum for reforming the dysfunctional state budget process -- a process that, although completed on time last month, was done so largely in secret. Only now is the public discovering what was inserted in the almost $63 billion spending package behind closed doors.

Last week, Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) called for legislative action on state budget reform legislation, and for that action to occur this Summer and Fall. That call to action appeared as an opinion-editorial in the Sheboygan Press on July 15th: Community Conversation: Time for Wisconsin to pass meaningful budget reform bills. The statewide Wisconsin Radio Network also covered CC/WI's call for budget reform last week: Can budget process be reformed?

Other newspapers have chimed in as well with calls for the legislature to fix the budget process:

Last Sunday, the Wisconsin State Journal posed the question: At issue: Should party caucus meetings be open?, featuring both CC/WI's support of legislation that would force the Legislature to abide by the state's open meetings law, and State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker's opposition to opening up all legislative meetings.

The Capital Times weighed in this week with a powerful editorial: Reform abusive state budget process calling for enactment into law the reform legislation CC/WI is touting.

Late last month, the Green Bay Press-Gazette also made the case for budget reform: Editorial: Legislative reform needed more than ever -- as have a number of other papers across the state.

More Wisconsin citizens need to weigh in on this issue and demand that budget reform legislation be added to the campaign finance reform legislation that is being considered and is expected to pass this upcoming Fall.

Call, write or e-mail both your State Senator and your State Representative and tell them to call for public hearings this Summer on Assembly Bill 143 and Assembly Bill 42 -- and urge them to support and pass these important measures this Fall.

To contact your legislators, go here. To find out who your State Senator and State Representative are, go here. If you tell your legislators that this is important and that you expect them to support these reforms, many (but not all) will respond affirmatively. If you do not, they will not.

Your voice is important!

In June, CC/WI led a successful effort to thwart Senator Russ Decker's attempt to cripple the investigative ability of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. (See: Jay Heck's victory for good government)

We can be successful, too, in this quest for much-needed state budget reform and in securing long-needed campaign finance reform. But our collective voices must be heard.

And to be heard, they must be loud.

Let your elected officials in Madison know that they are being watched and will be judged on their commitment to both opening up Wisconsin's budget process and removing all of the campaign cash grubbing from that process as well.


Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson Street, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703

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