So, we're now a couple weeks and counting past when the state budget in Wiscosnin is due. At least we've managed to avoid a complete state shutdown, unlike a number of other states in the past month. But cruising along on past allotments isn't an answer. Once again we are seeing that although the current state administration is capable of winning votes, and keeping total control over the government, one thing they are genuinely terrible at is governing. 

Government requires discussion and compromise. We currently have a crop of legislators who are schooled in the "my way or the highway" form of government. But "my way" means different things to different members of the splintered GOP party in the state. Transportation is the huge sticking point, and we're now stymied by the large contingent of legislators who never saw a tax they liked. Continual tax-cutting in the state has made it near impossible to actually run the government, and this has gotten worse every year. So we're now stuck in the middle between those who think it is actually the job of government to provide services, and those who want to continue to cut taxes and borrow our way into the future. Somehow a compromise will be struck in the next few weeks that will pull together the worst tendencies of all our legislators, and will produce a mess that future generations will continue to pay for (I say this only because it's what we keep seeing - I'd love to be wrong here).  Likely there will be some sort of setup where we split the difference, cut services more deeply, cut taxes more, and run up a bigger bill that somebody will actually have to deal with in the future.

But  - the other thing we have learned will happen is that somewhere in the middle of a late night session, magical things will happen. Stuff will get attached to the budget that has no business being there. This is what happens when budget negotiations fester to the point where desperation sets in to just get the damn budget passed, no matter what may be in it. Donors will be rewarded. Arms will be twisted.  And stuff will just plain be sneaked in at the last minute that nobody will notice. And thus, more bad ideas will come out of Madison and be foisted off on the rest of the state. 

Be afraid.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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