© 2011Middle Wisconsin
August 3, 2011
State Redistricting PlanPasses both Houses
A plan to adjust district boundaries based on populationchanges over the past decade passed both the Senate andHouse on strictly partisan voting lines last week. The plan is currently being challenged by Democrats in theCourts based on issues of the lack of contiguous votingdistrict boundaries and the hardship caused for blocks of voters who will have to vote in new districts.
drawn plan passed the Assembly on a57
40 vote with one Republican voting against it. The plan was not addressed by a single Republican on thefloor before being voted upon.
The State Senate passed the bill 19
14 on a strictly partyline vote. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald was the only Republicanto speak in defense of the plan. "I'm proud to announcethat the new maps conform to constitutional and legalrequirements. They are substantially equal in popula-tion, they are compact, they are contiguous districts, andthere is a deference to our minority populations in our urban centers," the senator said during debate.
"The senator from the 13th said all of that with astraight face," countered Sen. Spencer Coggs. "But this plan makes absolutely no sense." Coggs went on toclaim, "That‘s not a competitive map, folks, that‘s a do
over map...Voters are supposed to pick their politicians.Politicians are not supposed to pick their voters."
There is already a federal lawsuit this year, even thoughGovernor Walker has yet to sign the bill into law. Thelawsuit filed last month by former Senate DemocraticMajority Leader Judy Robson of Beloit and 14 other citizens asked for a federal three
judge panel to developa redistricting plan if lawmakers do not put a constitu-tional plan in place in a timely fashion.
Check out DefendWisconsin.org, July 20
andDane101.com July 19
for further details.
Wausau Faces $1.1 Million Deficit
The city of Wausau recently announced that it is facingover a million dollar deficit, due largely to state aid cutsthat werenot offset by anticipated savings. Remember that in theGovernor‘s financial formula, he assured people that thecuts or ―tools‖ as he called them, would allow cities and countygovernments to deal with the financial realities theyface. The cuts were supposed to be made up by the in-creased revenue from increased contributions from pub-lic employees to their health benefits and pensions. Theamount of money generated from these contributionsdoes not equal the $970,000 that was cut in state aid. Inaddition, the city anticipated a rise in personnel spend-ing through increased wages, insurance and miscellane-ous costs.One option the city has is to increase property taxes by1.5 %, which is the maximum the state is allowing.This, however, would only generate a little over $300,000 in revenue. The City Council has suggestedthat there will be little choice but to make departmentcuts across the board. Parks and Recreation are amongthe departments suggested for the cuts. For more recentupdates on this story, check the WDH July 16
News and Notes
By Jim Mattes