6. My Testimony on Governor Walker’s 2013-14 State Budget

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee continues to vote on items in Governor Scott Walker’s $69 billion proposed budget. Here is a transcript of testimony I delivered on the Governor two-year plan for 20013 and 2014 at the Madison budget hearing held at Black Hawk Middle School in Madison on April 23, 2013. A number of Democratic State legislators were present, including Senators Miller, Larson, Risser; and Representatives Taylor, Sargent, Herbl and Kahl. About 50 members of the public were in the audience when I gave my remarks at approximately 6:30 PM. Other people were giving testimonies when I arrived. Everyone I heard either criticized the governor’s proposed K-12 school voucher plan or criticized the failure of the governor’s budget to ensure adequate health for all Wisconsin’s residents, especially its most vulnerable the low income residents.

Testimony of Michael T. Neuman, resident of Madison, Wisconsin, on Governor Walker’s Proposed 2013-14 State of Wisconsin Budget
Black Hawk Middle School, Madison
April 23, 2013

“The governors proposed budget for 2013 and 2014 fails to adequately fund 2 areas which I believe are critical for Wisconsin’s future. These are 1) education of the state’s children; and 2) Wisconsin’s contribution to global warming and responding to the global warming threat.

“To adequately address K-12 education, the budget should restore the $400 million in cuts made during the Governor Doyle administration, and the $750 million cuts made in the first year of
Governor Walker’s administration. Wisconsin’s public school programs should NOT be sacrificed fund a private school voucher program. The source of the money to restore and properly fund our public schools should not come from higher property taxes but rather from income taxes and the million of dollars that would unwisely expand the state’s highway system.

“This leads to my second major concern with the state budget, which is that it fails to address the growing threat of climate change in Wisconsin and our state’s continuing contribution to the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in our Earth’s atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. To address this, the budget should fund a program that offers financial incentives to Wisconsinites for driving less (or not driving at all), flying less (or not flying at all), and who use less fossil fuel derived energy in the household per person, annually.

“Finally, the state should also fund a program for local governments to prepare and adapt to the changing climate caused by global warming.”

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About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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