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Budget bill proposal dispute

Supporters and protesters both converge on Madison's capitol building
Supporters and protesters both converge on Madison's capitol building

It is a time in Wisconsin’s history that has political events of an unprecedented nature. It is a time in history whose magnitude is being compared to the domination of Hitler. And it is a time in history in which the silent and baby boom generations as well as their children and grandchildren are coming together due to the financial crisis in which our nation is embattled.

However, the “togetherness” we are sharing has seldom been more polarized as it is currently.

Almost literally, the nation and the world are watching the political fiasco occurring at the Madison capitol building and across the state.

In an effort to reposition Wisconsin’s financial deficit towards a less-negative amount, newly-elected Governor Scott Walker has taken a hardline position by proposing to the state’s Senators and House representatives a bill that will severely reduce and eliminate the power that unions have in representing their state employed members. Walker’s position states that the proposed changes are a necessary first step in coming close to balancing the state budget. Union members and officials argue that this first step is merely a political ploy to the inevitable elimination of union presence in the state.

With both sides being played out in internet blogs and periodical editorials, the situation becomes increasingly more difficult to interpret other than lots of people looking for a fight.

Yet, when the Wisconsin Democratic Senators chose to leave the state in an effort to slow down and stop the debate and vote on Walker’s budget proposal, thousands of supporters that had been massing at the Capitol understood their disappearance and the indefinite Senate shut-down as a win for their cause.

Indefinite? Perhaps… From their position at a Rockford, Illinois area hotel, the absent Senators sent the message that their return to Wisconsin was not yet given a deadline. They felt that not enough time had been given nor allowed for them to sufficiently debate, decipher, and amend the bill as it stood at that time. They felt that those whom they were representing throughout the state deserved the Senators fully devote their attention to the proposed details.

As of midnight, Saturday morning of February 19th, the full details of the proposed bill have yet to be released. Although there have been sketchy interpretations of the proposal’s contents, it must be understood that without the full document’s disclosure, one can only “assume” that the details being presented to the masses are the full interpretation of the bill itself. However, for anyone that has ever played TELEPHONE, we all know how much is changed the more times the information is sent on through another person.

As of today, Walker has not released the full details of the bill. In fact, his press conference where he was to discuss the bill has been rescheduled for a week later due to the AWOL actions of the Senators. It has been reasoned that Walker wanted the bill passed by the state’s Senate and House representatives before the document’s release in order to declare its unwavering presence. Furthermore, it is also construed that this action would have made the public’s chance to argue the bill’s inefficiencies and short-sightedness a futile effort.

In Walker’s camp, he made several attempts over the past three days to call up the Senate to debate and pass the budget proposal. During the continuing search for the missing leaders, Walker spoke on interview that negotiations would continue when the missing Democrats were located and returned to the Capitol. However, in several broadcasted discussions, it was made clear that no changes would be made to the budget proposal and that no amendments would be included during its passage.

Several protesters present in Madison bore signs declaring Walker as Hitler by comparison and that his actions have been more suggestive of a dictator. Walker’s campaign promise to do everything in his power to repair the broken state budget is now looking like the bill’s passage will be a “Walker’s way, only” scenario. Supporters of Walker’s bill thus far have been rebutting the opposition’s claims that the only best fix is to remove the new Governor.

Several hours from now, more people will converge on the Capitol building in Madison. With the sides becoming more heated in their debating process, it will be very interesting to see how more of this dilemma plays out during the weekend and into the next week. With one Senator short of a quorum, unless a fix can be arranged, Walker and the budget bill proposal will just have to wait for the Democratic Senators to return to Wisconsin.


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