Jauch makes pitch for northern budget hearingsMADISON — State Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, wants Republican legislative leaders to hold a budget hearing in northern Wisconsin but their spokespeople say that won’t happen.
By: By Kevin Murphy/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
MADISON — State Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, wants Republican legislative leaders to hold a budget hearing in northern Wisconsin but their spokespeople say that won’t happen.
Jauch released the letter he sent Thursday to Joint Finance Committee chairs State Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Falls, and State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette asking for a hearing to be held north of State Highway 29.
“(O)ne only needs to look at a state map to conclude that an entire region of the state has been overlooked in scheduling the hearings. In 1985, finance leaders implemented statewide public hearings to enable lawmakers to be more familiar with all regions of the state and to enable public access to influence budget deliberation,” Jauch wrote.
Hearings will be held in Baldwin on April 18, Lambeau Field on April 8, Lake Delton on April 10 and the Milwaukee suburb of Greendale on April 4.
Jauch said those are convenient locations for those living in the most populated areas of the state, but Baldwin is still a six-hour round trip from Superior for what would probably be a two-minute appearance before the committee.
Jauch liken the budget hearing locations to the Republicans refusing to hold a hearing in northern Wisconsin this year on mining legislation.
Nygren spokesperson Jennifer Malcore said the committee held a budget hearing at the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2011, and the committee tries to “rotate the hearings to all areas of the state.”
Darling’s spokesman Bob Delaporte said there have been difficulties locating hearings outside of Madison and Milwaukee but the committee will take public input wherever the hearings are held.
Delaporte suggested that Jauch, hold listening sessions on the budget in his district like State Sen. Joseph Liebham, R-Sheboygan, does.
Jauch responded that it is not about cities being selected but regions being ignored in the budget approval process. Hearings are held every year near Milwaukee and Green Bay, but the entire northern third of the state rates one every four to six years, he said.
Joint Finance is expected to act on the 2013-15 budget in May then send it to the Assembly and Senate.