Thursday, October 18, 2007

State Budget


Even when you report the news sometimes you get a little frustrated with a story. That’s how I feel about the impasse over Wisconsin’s state budget. Insiders say they aren’t that far apart except for on a few key issues. Both sides are blaming each other for not being willing to compromise. It’s like an old-fashioned duel in which the two participants are given single-shot pistols and miss each other.

It is costing people already as property tax levies are being set for December tax bills and state employees realize they may soon be unemployed. My sister Kathy works for the state of Michigan’s Correction Department. At the end of last month she was informed that she was being laid off and not to bother filing for unemployment because there wasn’t any money for that either. Fortunately Michigan passed a 30-day extension of their budget and she and other state employees went back to work.

I’m told that couldn’t happen in Wisconsin because the state’s old budget just continues in such cases. However something has got to give. This morning we got a report from the Associated Press the eight state legislators working on the budget compromise committee had earned $34,000 in per diem payments and travel money since July first. That’s simply not fair. If there were any justice no state legislator would be paid including the Governor, one of those budget proposals is his, until the budget were passed.

My first radio job out of college an automobile repair shop owner held my car hostage because he didn’t think I could pay my tab. When he found out who my boss was, she had a reputation for robbing Peter and paying Paul, he took pity on me. He got half my paycheck anyway and I had to go without some things for a few months.

I don’t blame state employees for gathering at the State Capitol to protest the budget impasse. In the end that old boss of mine spent five years in prison because she shorted the wrong person. Chances are nobody’s going to prison for failing to pass the state budget. Then again if they did imagine the wonderful treatment they’d get from those state employees. Provided of course there’s money available to man the prison.