As you probably know, the legislature adopted a partially-funded budget and adjourned on Monday, 27 April. That budget specifically and definitively rejected the “monetary terms” of our SU and CEA contracts for the year beginning 1 July 2015 – rejected the 2.5% raises, and rejected all monetary terms in the third year, which may make for some interesting discussion. The budget, however, was not funded for the complete 2016 fiscal year.
The Governor almost immediately called the Legislature into Special Session. The Special Session had 3 agenda items – (1) a fully-funded budget, (2) Medicaid expansion and (3) Erin’s Law. On Tuesday, 28 April 2015, the legislature sort of grumbled around, convened, adjourned and grumbled some more. Late in the day, the Governor introduced HB/SB 1001, a revised administration budget, which did accept numerous cuts and reductions adopted in the House and Senate budgets, but which also added additional monies for public education, AMHS and our contracts and their raises.
So far, not much action has taken place on the governor’s revised budget. Senate Finance met on Wednesday, 29 April 2015, and presented a contrived discussion wherein they worried over, but justified, their reductions/their budget, and generally insisted that their budget is the only reasonable vehicle to respond to the state’s financial dilemma. Committee meetings, of course, are fora where the dominant committee members are able to maintain complete and total control of the discussion and all information emanating from the meeting, so the meeting was, primarily, an opportunity, for the committee majority to praise themselves and exercise their bully pulpit to insist that the state’s response to the financial situation must be their – the committee majority’s – response. House Finance met this afternoon and had much the same discussion. At this hearing, Commissioner Fisher confirmed the administration’s commitment to honoring union contracts.
Later on Wednesday, Governor Walker held a news conference where he did an excellent job of discussing and explaining the situation, outlining and advocating his revised budget (HB/SB 1001) and defending the add-backs reflected in his budget. The legislature is now in recess for two weeks.
Please continue to let the Governor know you support his efforts, and please continue to let the legislature know you support the Governor and his revised budget, HB/SB 1001. Links, connections and suggestions are available on APEA’s website, www.apea-aft.org.