Legislators, Others React To Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Plan
MPS Seeks To Protect Its Students
POSTED: 5:05 pm CST March 1, 2011
UPDATED: 6:09 pm CST March 1, 2011
MADISON, Wis. -- Democratic Wisconsin state Rep. Jennifer Shilling says Gov. Scott Walker's budget is a "dead end" for Wisconsin families.
Walker delivered his budget address in the Assembly chamber on Tuesday as protesters screamed and pounded on drums two floors below. More than 1,000 marched outside.
Democrats and their allies are incensed about deep cuts Walker wants to make to schools and local governments. Walker said he's making the tough choices to finally solve Wisconsin's perennial deficits.
"What the governor has proposed is nearly $1.5 billion in devastating cuts to public schools, local fire and police protection and the University of Wisconsin," Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller said in a news release from Northern Illinois.
Milwaukee Public Schools Administration said it will look to discuss and challenge the proposed budget on behalf o the students.
"MPS students in particular need a voice, with over 82 percent living in poverty and almost 20 percent requiring more costly special education," MPS said in a news release.
" The governor will make villians out of city and county governments and school boards across the state who will be forced to slash educational opportunities and social services. For the children and most vulnerable citizens of Milwaukee, the bill will be a disaster," Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association President Mike Langyel said in a written statement.
Shilling, of La Crosse, sits on the Legislature's budget committee. She accused Walker of bullying people and promised to fight the spending plan.
The budget would cut aid to schools and local governments by about $1 billion. Overall, state spending would increase just over 1 percentage point over two years.
"The governor's budget will increase class sizes, layoff teachers, police and firefighters will be laid off, and tuition will increase," Miller said.
Democratic state Rep. Tamara Grigsby said the governor's waging war on Wisconsin families.
"Far from reform, this budget will only add to Republicans' ongoing assault on working families and Wisconsin values," Grigsby said.
But not all of the reaction was negative.
The president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce said he is pleased that Walker is willing to make tough choices.
“The governor's budget gives Wisconsin and its private sector employers a platform of tax relief, education reform, and fiscal discipline, that will help get our state’s financial house in order and make our economy more competitive for the long haul,” Tim Sheehy said
Republican Sen. Mary Lazich said she applauds Walker for a comprehensive plan to solve the state's fiscal issues.
“The governor’s budget creates a smaller, more efficient state government the voters asked for Nov. 2, 2010. The budget reduces the structural deficit by 90 percent without increasing taxes and fees.”
State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said he looks forward to working with the governor and legislature to get Wisconsin back to work
“There has been fiscal mismanagement by both Republicans and Democrats in the past, but this budget proposal is an example of honest budgeting that will not only move us forward in the next two years but in years to come," Fitzgerald said in a new release.
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