Local lawmakers react to Walker's budget proposal

By Courtney Terlecki, WAOW News

MADISON (WAOW) - Governor Scott Walker announced his budget proposal Wednesday afternoon in front of Wisconsin's state legislators.

In it, included big spending on issues like school, transportation and workforce. But also, big tax cuts including taking the state out of property taxes.

"How much of this is real, that's the question right now," said State Representative Katrina Shankland.

In Walker's proposal, an additional $649 million would go to schools. Tuition would also decrease for UW undergrads by 5 percent.

"Overall I'm ecstatic," said State Representative Pat Snyder. "The cuts that had to me made, I thought the governor made a good statement, that the hard decisions made in past now have to start moving forward with that."

Governor Walker also wants to make historic tax cuts, saying Wednesday afternoon he wants to take the state taxes out of the property tax. He said the tax relief in the budget is $592 million.

Tack this on to an increase in transportation funds for local governments, welfare reform and other projects, Walker is proposing a lot of spending with no new taxes.

Walker said this budget is made possible by what he said are common sense reforms referred to as reform dividends.

"Specifically lowering the burden on hard working taxpayers helped put more money into the economy, reducing excessive regulations and frivolous lawsuits helped improved the business climate," said Governor Walker during his address.

Local lawmakers question whether this budget can actually happen, saying it seems more like Walker is proposing this budget because he'll be up for reelection.

"It really sounds like a reelection year budget, it sounds like he's planning on running for Governor again," said Shankland. "The question is when the legislature takes up the budget, the money should go to our priorities."

Even on the Republican side, lawmakers aren't sure the budget will make it through, but said they hope it does.

"I'm really hoping the education," said Snyder. "I'll let this get hammered out a bit, we have to make sure we're not borrowing and going deeper in debt to cover some of this."

The budget could take months to pass, it goes on to the Joint Committee Finance for review.