The open contempt being shown by Republicans Grothmann, Darling and Vos - - all members of the powerful legislative budget-writing committee - - to taxpaying citizens exercising their civic duty by speaking openly at state budget hearings is breath-taking.
I can understand these partisans' disdain for Democrats. But for the democratic process?
Samples from the West Allis and Superior hearings:
A sociology professor at the local UW system campus testified against the budget and evidently struck a nerve of Senator Glenn Grothman. Professor Marshall Johnson completed his testimony and began melting back into the crowd, Grothman left his spot on the stage and sought Professor Johnson out. The Senator demanded his name and information about his position with the University.Vos:
This from a senator who had previously appeared disinterested, playing on his iphone, reading and chatting much of the day. The only signs of real political life from Grothman before this point was when he was introduced and announced that his reason for attending was to hear citizens' ideas for more budget cuts ... he was evidently disappointed as none were offered during the day."
So Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington), citing the Wisconsin Conversation Congress meeting he had to attend in Union Grove -- the meetings are going on tonight all over the state -- ended the hearing around 6:30 p.m., and the Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee walked off the podium.Grothman, Vos and Darling:
Stevens Point -- After four hours of testimony, almost no one has spoken in favor of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget.
Walker’s fellow Republicans who run the Legislature said they were not surprised.
“You can see why (the Joint Finance Committee) usually does a bad job. The spenders always show up,” said Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), a committee member.
Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), a committee co-chairman, noted some of those who testified sought increases in the beer tax, income tax or corporate tax. He said Republicans were committed to balancing the state budget without raising taxes.
He and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), a committee co-chairwoman, said most people express their budget preferences at the ballot box, rather than by coming to committee hearings.
“There is a silent majority,” Darling said.