Veep’s Viewpoint – 6/26/2009

I am pleased to announce to the La Flog and LSSA communities that as of last night, the LSSA board has approved an annual budget. Much unlike the budget process that has been taking place on the other end of State Street up at the Capitol over the last few months, this budget was created entirely in open meetings with no secrecy or backroom negotiations. Not to disparage our State Legislature, but I do think this brings up an interesting conversation:

Is it appropriate under a situation where a single party controls both legislative houses and the governor’s office to formulate and approve a budget largely behind closed doors and without minority participation for all intents and purposes?

For the purpose of being as non-partisan as possible in opening this discussion for your consideration, keep in mind that the process by which the recent biennial budget deal in Wisconsin was struck this week is not unique to this session of the legislature or to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. With this in mind, we must consider what the policy implications are for this back-and-forth of, “When you were in the majority you shut us out, so we’re going to shut you out of the process now.” Does this serve any good purpose? Should action be taken to change the process? Or, must we simply continue to live with the status quo and accept that the system works for better or worse? I’ll leave this for you to consider on your own, but I’d of course be interested in your comments.

Despite this little sidetrack, I’d like to get back to the matter that triggered this conversation in the first place. We, LSSA, now have a budget for the current board year that is both balanced and, from my perspective, well-constructed with very reasonable estimates of costs and revenue. In fact, from the board’s discussion in finalizing the budget last night and the possibility of future adjustments, we may encounter the excellent position of have a surplus as the year progresses. Of course, as any adjustments are made to the now official budget, we will keep the LSSA community fully informed.

The finishing touches are being made to the actual budget document to reflect final changes made at yesterday’s board meeting. We hope to post this document for the community’s open access viewing as soon as it is ready. Please check back in here for updates. In the meantime, if you have any questions relating to the LSSA budget for the current board year, please do not hesitate to ask me or any other board member.

As always, I look forward to any comments, and have a great weekend!

– Holden Weisman, LSSA VP

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One Response to Veep’s Viewpoint – 6/26/2009

  1. Nate says:

    Shutting the minority party out of the budget process probably does serve a purpose – people can focus on the budget instead of public relations and debate… Someone reminded me that the Governor’s executive budget is done in incredible secrecy. No public input, just bureaucratic number crunching and political priorities. Shutting others out of that process probably is for a ‘good purpose.’ But when the legislative chambers follow the same model, the public misses a lot of important information (who supports what, why, what arguments for and against different issues).

    The system supposedly does work as it is now. Wisconsin has gotten by in the past, it probably will in the future. Overall, though, public input and debate would help keep all elements of the budget honest – the purpose of our combative democratic structures – right? Good questions!

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