MADISON (WKOW) -- Members of the state's budget-writing joint finance committee acted swiftly to begin incorporating Governor Doyle's latest round of cost-cutting measures to cope with a state budget deficit of nearly seven billion dollars.
"We're making alot of tough decisions," committee co-chairman Rep. Marc Pocan (D-Madison) said.
Among their Friday decisions, committee members made cuts to the UW-System which leaves the state's higher education with the equivalent of the loss of suppprt for 14,000 students in the 26-campus system.
Doyle proposed a cut of 2.5% to originally proposed state funds for education and local governments.
The education proposal includes a reduction in the previously recommended growth of $275 per pupil.
Assistant Madison schools superintendent Erik Kass said the school district's revenue estimates were contingent on receiving the previous per pupil aid formula. Kass told 27 News school district coping options would include use of federal stimulus dollars, further belt tightening measures, and increased property taxes.
Doyle's cost cutting plan also includes rollback of state employee raises for nearly 10,000 management level state workers. Doyle has proposed rescission of contracted raises for another 38,000 workers in lieu of layoffs, but union leaders have been reluctant to re-open labor contract negotiations unless state officials first downsize the outsourcing of state work.
Joint Finance committee members did approve in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students in the UW-System, and the provision of some legal protections and insurance benefits for gay and lesbian couples.
The Wisconsin State Journal's capitol reporter Jason Stein outlines the progress of the committee's work to-date: