Assembly Democrats are calling Governor Walker's budget a "dead end" for Wisconsin families. Republicans, on the other hand, praised the plan saying it's the only way to get the state's economy back on track.More >>
"From day one, Republicans have promised to focus on jobs, to stop the unchecked growth of government, and to bring real reform to the broken status quo. With this budget, Gov. Walker is proving that we will keep those promises."More >>
Mayoral candidate Paul Soglin, the former Mayor of Madison, has issued the following statement in response to Gov. Scott Walker's budget address:More >>
MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker said "I'm an optimist" in his biennial budget address speech Tuesday afternoon.
Walker first tackled his budget repair bill, saying after it passes, the state will be stronger than ever.
Walker says the state needs the savings of the budget repair bill because the state faces an enormous budget deficit.
His plan calls for more than $1 billion in cuts to schools and local governments and $500 million in cuts to Medicaid. Wisconsin faces a $3.6 billion shortfall.
"Our budget holds true to these principles by balancing the $3.6 billion deficit through permanent spending reductions and innovative government reforms," Walker said. "Specifically, our budget reduces all funds spending by $4.2 billion, or 6.7 percent, and decreases the structural deficit by 90 percent from $2.5 billion to $250 million – the lowest structural deficit in recent history. That's over $2 billion we are saving from future obligations and for future generations."
Walker says it's time to start paying our bills today so our kids are not faced with them down the road.
"We must work together to bring our spending in line with reality. We were elected --not to make the easy decisions to benefit ourselves -- but to make the difficult ones that will benefit our children and grandchildren."
Walker also spoke on the need for infrastructure, "Our budget also recognizes the important role that transportation plays in economic development. In order to grow, we need to move goods and people in a cost-effective and timely manner. That is why our budget ends the raids on the transportation fund, and includes a total investment of $5.7 billion in our state's transportation system."
"That's money that will create jobs - now - and in the future. Included in our budget is funding for the accelerated reconstruction of the Zoo interchange (which actually saves us $600 million from the original plans) and additional funding to continue construction of the I-94 corridor. It also includes major investments in our transportation system all across the State of Wisconsin."
The governor again said if the 14 Democratic Senators don't return to Wisconsin, there will be dire consequences, including massive teacher layoffs.
During the governor's speech, protesters outside chanted, "Recall Walker" and could be easily heard inside.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican Assembly members have taken the floor. Assembly Democrats came in all wearing orange T-shirts from last week.
The gallery is completely full. Cheers from protesters made it hard to hear the prayer.
Democrat Rep. Peter Barca spoke, and said they're very concerned and debated showing up today after the Capitol was closed to most people for much of the day.
Governor Walker's budget calls for cuts to schools and local government, but no tax or fee hikes, according to the AP.
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