Two Indianhead communities turn down budget hearingsWestern Wisconsin News
-- It used to be an honor for communities to host the public hearings on the state budget which are held every two years. But that’s not always true in this age of polarization.
MINONG - It used to be an honor for communities to host the public hearings on the state budget which are held every two years. But that’s not always true in this age of polarization. Hayward said no to hosting one of the four day-long hearings that the Joint Finance Committee is holding on Governor Scott Walker’s budget for the next two years. And yesterday, the second choice – Minong Northwood High School – changed its mind about hosting a proceeding set for Friday. So it will be held in Superior instead.
Northwood administrator Jean Serum was worried that protestors would show up in her little Douglas County community – and students might not feel safe if there’s shouting-and-picketing. Hayward officials also said they were worried about disrupting the school which would have hosted the state finance panel. That’s a far cry from the not-too-distant past, when local leaders thanked lawmakers for coming to town – and they showed hospitality even if they were against what was proposed at the time.
Majority Republicans on the finance panel are holding all of their budget hearings at least 70 miles from Madison, after massive protests in February on the governor’s plan to limit public union bargaining. Democrats were angered by the GOP’s hearing schedule. And they’ll have their own hearings on Walker’s budget which begin Saturday in Oshkosh and Eau Claire. They’ll also go to Baraboo, Wausau, Janesville, and La Crosse. The official budget hearings begin Thursday in Stevens Point, and will also be in Arcadia and West Allis – and they’re mostly in Democratic districts.
Senate Democrat Bob Jauch of Poplar says it’s because Republicans are afraid to hold hearings in their back yards because the budget would hurt so many people.