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Other views: Budget bill add-ons need authors' names

4:56 PM, Aug. 15, 2013  |  Comments
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In every state budget process, we see the same thing. Provisions added at the end of part of the process - amendments tucked in as the Joint Finance Committee finishes crafting the bill, additions made as part of the "technical amendment" designed to make necessary minor changes before the Assembly or Senate votes on the bill.

We have no idea who adds the provision and, in many instances, legislators don't either.

In one example, a measure that would require the University of Wisconsin-Madison to sever its connection with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism was added just before Joint Finance finished its work.

But it was never publicly disclosed who added it. During a post-budget conversation with local Republican Assembly representatives, none of them said they knew - not even Rep. John Klenke, R-Green Bay, who's actually on the Joint Finance Committee.

In the name of responsible transparent government, that has to end.

The public deserves to know who added that provision.

The public deserves to know who added a state income-tax deduction for parents of private-school students.

The public deserves to know who tried to slip a voucher-school provision into the 2011-13 budget bill.

The public deserves to know who's responsible for authoring every addition to the budget bill.

If a legislator is too cowardly to put his or her name on a measure, it doesn't deserve consideration by the Legislature.

So many legislators, from both parties, say they want to change how business is done in the state capitol. Here's a chance to prove it.

This can be a bipartisan measure. It'll only take some legislators from the majority party - these days, that's the Republicans - to recognize it's the right thing to do for their constituents.

It would be a bill any lawmaker should be proud to put their name on.

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