Protesters create 'tent-city' in opposition of biennial budget - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

'Tent-city' protests biennial budget


MADISON (WKOW) --  Protesters say they're making their presence known, as lawmakers are set to begin debating the biennial budget.

"We can't let these things go unnoticed. We need to bare witness to portray the message we are all here we are watching," said Charity Schmidt, UW Grad Student.

Protesters of Governor Scott Walker's budget are camping near the Capitol the next two weeks.

It's starting to look like a tent city - even with an information desk to stay organized.

"If the people's house is going to be closed down we've gotta have a presence known," said Walkerville organizer Peter Rickman.

Rickman hopes to bring back the presence everyone remembers in February.

"We want to hold the politicians accountable for the bad choices they're making," said Rickman.

Each day will have a theme. Sunday - a rally was held for K-12 education.

"We'll take this message of dignity for all workers across this state," said Peggy Coyne, MTI President during a speech.

"It's the impact of those dollars across the state that really indicate how bad the choices are going to be," said Mary Bell, President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

"This budget is going to have a long lasting devastating impact on the kind of life we enjoy in Wisconsin," said Bell.

Walkerville will be themed public service day Monday and a march is scheduled to start on the 300 block of Dayton at 11:30 a.m.

The Joint Finance Committee has finished its work on Gov. Scott Walker's budget shortly after midnight Saturday morning.

The two-year spending plan now heads to the full Legislature for its consideration. That debate is expected to begin in a week or so.

The budget balances a projected $3 billion budget shortfall without raises taxes, but it does make deep cuts to public schools and the University of Wisconsin.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says the budget lays the groundwork for a "prosperous state."

But Democrats say Republicans balanced the budget on the back of the middle class, cutting education and programs benefiting the poor while protecting corporations. One of the committee's last votes was to approve a tax cut for manufacturers.

Also under this version, newly hired Wisconsin state patrol officers and inspectors would have to pay more for their pensions and health care benefits under the state budget.

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted to make the change Friday.

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