Why I love paying taxes, reason #64365181682

You know those people who seem to live in bubbles and make a point to tell you that they are so unbelievably busy that they don’t have time for things like, say, ‘news?’ And then they ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, and the answer to which doesn’t have any effect on you in any manner, but they whine with such gravity that you feel compelled to spend your time finding the answer? Well, maybe you don’t, but I do. And one such person just irked me. For the billionth time.

Which leads me to an ode to Eau Claire. I never really thought I’d write such a sentence, but here I am doing so, and doing so happily. There have been rumors aplenty in the office about the contents of Joint Finance Committee’s dreaded Wisconsin’s 2011-13 budget. You may have even heard some yourself, Dear Reader. I decided to try to tackle one such rumor myself by, shockingly, finding the text of the budget. Radical, I know. Although I do have an unabashed love for Wikipedia (despite learning recently — from Wikipedia — that one of its founders purportedly has an unabashed love for all things Ayn Rand-y), sometimes it’s best to, you know, do some actual research. Original texts can be a good place to start. So, what do I do? Well, I hit up a variety of sites, including the legislature’s own. Hmm. Can’t find anything. My research turns up what Walker proposed what feels like a century ago, but was really March, what the assembly proposed and what the senate proposed and what was taken up in JFC. But nowhere can I find what JFC sent to the assembly on Monday when the committee took its sad, final vote on the destructive nonsense. Boo.

Well, where the hell is it? After checking the usual suspects — the LFB, the Wheeler Report, Wispolitics’ budget blog (which is genius, by the way) — I turn back to the old and reliable stand-by, the google search. After paging through a few pages devoted to Monday’s supreme court argument (oh, google, you were there with me when I listened to the whole thing online! you should know I don’t need any more info on that), I came across a page from the UW-Eau Claire’s library that appeared to house state government documents. Voila! Click and click! Hmm. It wasn’t there. But what was set off in the lower right-hand corner? It looked to be…wait, is that right? No, it couldn’t be…Well, maybe…It was an area to type in a question and to instant-message with a public school librarian! (Is instant-message a verb?) I cautiously type in my query, “Where can I find the text of the budget bill that has been sent to the assembly?” I wait. I take a bite of salad. A co-worker pops his head in to ask about a brief. Beep! I am now chatting with the government documents librarian at Eau Claire. Genius! We have a brief chat about my request, she starts to look around for it, I tell her where I have looked, she tells me she can’t find it either, she takes me email address and says she’ll email me if she locates it. Hoo-ray! I know I may never hear from her again, but the beauty of being able to chat on the computer with a public-employee librarian really made my day. Possibly my week. We’ll see.


8 Responses to “Why I love paying taxes, reason #64365181682”

  1. 1 kateandgracie June 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    UPDATE: Already heard from the librarian. She contacted both the LFB (legislative fiscal bureau) and the LRB (legislative reference bureau) to find out where the thing is. LFB told her, essentially, that all of the changes needed to be compiled and it would be ready for *publication* Friday or Monday. She then — get this — called LRB to see if their story matched LFB’s! Now, that’s just great research there. Of course you need a second source! Anyway, LRB confirmed and said that the proposal will be available online on Monday. Case closed.

  2. 2 Sara H June 9, 2011 at 9:02 am

    If you’re really curious in the meantime, you have to read the motions. Or check the wispolitics budget blog – they do a fairly good job with summaries, and sometimes have the motions. The actual motion pdfs might only be available via subscription to Wheeler Report, which maybe someone in your department has. But yes, the budget will be out shortly – it takes LFB and LRB a while to make the motions into statutory language (if you read the motions and have a general sense of statutes, as you do, you will see why this is an epic task). And with any luck, LFB will have its summary out at the same time as the compiled bill – and that is WAY better than reading the actual bill. 🙂 If you want to see the Gov’s budget in plain language, you should check that out (they do a summary for each stage of the process).

  3. 3 gwendolyngarden June 9, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Yay for my alma mater! You are a rock star for looking that up, BTW.

  4. 4 kateandgracie June 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of the language and I’ve read a lot of AB40 and SB27, as well as the gov’s initial budget. What I was really looking for was something proposed May 24 regarding part-time employees. I think they floated an amendment that has changed the definition of how a PT employee is defined for purposes of pension/health insurance. And there are different rumors out there as to whether it’s 57% now (whereas it used to be 33%) or 75% and I wanted clarification on what the actual language is, and I can’t find that in text anywhere. Anyway, go UWEC!

  5. 5 Sara H June 9, 2011 at 11:50 am

    The motion states that you must work 2/3 of what is considered full time (as determined by ETF) to be eligible for WRS. Won’t be in any text until Monday. 🙂

  6. 6 Raoser June 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Go Kate! You are indeed a rock star! Actual research. It’s been so long since I’ve gone further than Wiki-ing something…

    Also, instant messaging does seem to be a verb these days and it usually scares me but in this instance, it was brilliant!

  7. 7 kateandgracie June 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for the insight, Sara! Peeps are not going to be happy about that.

  8. 8 Sara H June 10, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Ought to be an interesting week next week, for sure.

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June 2011

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