Monday, April 11, 2011

Budget Hearings Underway

Words Speak Louder Than Actions

Last week there was a budget hearing in Stevens Point an article ran the next day in the Greenbay Press Gazette, here is the link:
I thought this point was important and confirms that the Republican controlled congress is not listening to others that disagree with their agenda:

During a break from the daylong hearing, Rep. Robin Vos and Sen. Alberta Darling, the committee’s co-chairs, said few of the dozens of people who spoke Thursday represented regular taxpayers.

“Everybody that has come who’s a taxpayer is representing a special interest that they have, which is really good,” Darling said. “But often the person who just wants to make sure we do what’s important to build jobs and the economy and not put it on the taxpayer, those people don’t come to the hearings.”

Read the article and the comments. It seems to me that she was complaining that their 'silent majority' are not showing up to these hearings to tell them what a great job they are doing. Instead, complainers and whiners are wasting their valuable time with demanding justice and reasonableness for the entire State, not just their silent majority. In addition the Walker admin. likes to use the word 'taxpayer' to further divide us, it's taxpayer v.s entitlements. We are all taxpayers in one way or another. As I mentioned in past posts, I know that these town halls and budget hearings really have no influence on the decisions they make, by and large, vital decisions have already been decided. I personally think it's payback for the claims made that Democrats didn't listen to Republicans during the health care debates.

Continued Call For Action 

I received another email from Sara Finger, she is urgently reminding people to attend these meetings in the hope that some on the panel might be persuaded to develop empathy and sympathy to the most vulnerable in our State, those that depend on Badger Care and Medicaid for survival. I will be attending the budget hearing Saturday in Manitowoc. Sen. Leibham will be presiding. To be honest, I feel as if I'll be walking into the lions den because this area is fiercely Republican. I have to do it though, I want my testimony on record. There will be three minutes to speak, I will be reading a letter my daughter sent to Leibham and will a few comments as time allows. Here is the letter she sent to him when we found out about the budget repair bill:

 Hello Senator Leibham,

I am writing because I am deeply concerned about the medical aid provisions in your budget bill. Taking the legislative process out of the administration of vital health care programs and handing that authority solely to bureaucrats is simply wrong. There are thousands of people who literally depend on that coverage for their lives. My mother is one of them. She is disabled with an incurable recurring tumor disorder that will require her to have surgeries every few years for the rest of her life. If it hadn't been for BadgerCare and now Medicaid she would have died last January when her tumor (which she had never had diagnosed because of lack of any kind of health insurance) grew so large it was fusing her internal organs together. The doctor said if she'd waited even another month, the tumor would likely have caused irreparable damage to her organs or even ruptured completely and killed her. She was doing the best she could at the time, struggling to pay for her house and food while working at the best job she could land (20 hours a week at $8 an hour). However, the second she became ill, she was fired from her job. Now she cannot work and relies entirely on her disability and state health insurance to survive.

If this adjustment to health care programs is used to reduce or deny her coverage because she cannot contribute, that means she will not be able to receive treatment and she will die. This is not meant to be hyperbolic rhetoric or to manipulate you into feeling guilty. This is honest concern from a daughter who doesn't want to see her mother die what, according to her doctor, would be a horrific and painful death if left untreated. The changes you are making have real life and death consequences, not just for my mother but I'm sure for many others as well. There is nothing wrong with attempting to rid the system of people without legitimate need for the program, but I assure you, not everyone who relies on such programs is scamming it or feels "entitled" as the TV talking heads like to say. They are people who have worked hard and tried their best, but ultimately can't do it alone.

I realize that sacrifices must be made by everyone to get this state back on track. However, we simply cannot sacrifice people's lives to balance the budget. Please remove this provision from the budget bill and debate it on it's own so that the people of Wisconsin can have their say.

He respond with this:

Thank you for your note and for your patience as I have worked to respond to thousands of e-mails over the past month.

 Please know that we did make an amendment to the budget correction bill so that any changes to the Medical Assistance programs will now have to be reviewed and approved by the legislature through the rule process.  Please let me know if you have learned anything specific about changes to your mother’s care service and I will look into it for you.

Thank you again for sharing your input with me.  Please contact me again if I can provide additional information or answer any questions.  For more information on my overall legislative efforts, I encourage you to log-on to my on-line office at:

It is an honor to work for and represent the residents of the 9th District in the State Senate!


Joe Leibham
State Senator
9th District
Shortly after receiving that response, Leibham introduced legislation that would 'protect' WI residents from Obamacare. It appears that this legislation is taken from the ALEC playbook. Time will tell how much if the political agenda put forth by the Republican party and their allies will actually become reality, we can only hope that the public will see past all of the fear mongering and division and see that what we really have to fear is their agenda. It is devastating and cruel and attacks those that cannot defend themselves.

Thank you for your time today,


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