MADISON (WKOW) -- While the budget repair battle continues in Dane County court the biennial budget battle is just starting over at the Capitol. This is just the beginning of many budget discussions that will go for several months.
For the next week, the Joint Finance Committee will meet with the head of each state agency. First up Tuesday, was Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch.
This Joint Finance Committee meeting was the first since the 14 Senate Democrats left the state in last month. They're moving forward dissecting Governor Walker's two-year budget proposal.
It was the committee's first opportunity to directly question Walker's top aide, DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch about specifics in the budget.
Sen. Robert Jauch (P-Poplar) says, "When you put your budget together what was the concept of equalization/equal opportunity which you intended to apply and how do you reconcile the desire to have equal opportunity and equal treatment of students and communities in this state when your budget increases the disparity between the rich and the poor."
Democratic Senator Robert Jauch told Huebsch there are two words to describe Governor Walker's budget; con and sin. Huebsch responded the budgets from the past ten years can be described by the same two words.
DOA Secretary Huebsch says, "We knew over the last ten years we created a budget that was a con and frankly a sin to our children. That couldn't continue."
Each committee member was limited to just two questions. Those questions centered around issues that impact people throughout the state including the Governor's decision to split off the University of Madison from the rest of the UW system. A few members specifically questioning why the Governor didn't give the other UW schools the same authority.
Hubesch says, "Madison was well ahead the other campuses in preparing for this and in fact if you look at Chancellor Martin from a year ago, they were well down the path in how they could make this transition from a system base to a more autonomous program. The other campuses frankly aren't that far along."
Republican Representative John Nygren asked Huebsch why the Governor proposed getting rid of the state's recycling mandate. The Marinette Representative has opposed Walker's recycling plan and said he will fight to keep it alive in the two-year budget.
Huebsch says, "Removing the mandate by no means will remove the desire or the practice of recycling in any of our communities or any of our homes."
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson was also there today on behalf of the supreme court. She told the Joint Finance Committee she's worried about the provisions in the budget that she says adversely affect the judicial branch as an independent branch of government. She also says the budget bill doesn't include enough funding to help counties meet court-related expenses.
Tuesday, the JFC also heard from Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler and Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. Wednesday, the Government Accountability Board, Department of Corrections, Department of Children and Families and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority are all scheduled to speak in front of the JFC.