Shankland says Walker's budget speech is "more rhetoric" and "light on details"
By Larry Lee, WSAU Radio
MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Governor Scott Walker’s budget has support on most issues from the Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate, but minority Democrats say there are several things they don’t like about it.
Assembly Assistant Minority Leader Katrina Shankland from Stevens Point is one of them. She wanted more details in Walker’s Tuesday speech. “I thought he left a lot out. It was pretty light on details and a little more on rhetoric, and the biggest thing that I was looking for was a chance to hear more about how we can help the middle class.”
Shankland and her colleagues will continue to seek changes in job creation and development programs, look for ways to reduce student debt, and push back on school funding issues, especially the expansion of voucher schools. “I’m concerned about the precedent that that sets, but second of all, I’m really concerned about what that would do to our public schools who rely on this funding, so for every dollar that goes over to the voucher schools, it’s one less dollar that goes over to our public schools. We have a constitutional obligation to fund our public schools, not our private schools.”
The Stevens Point Democrat is also very concerned about Walker’s proposed 300-million dollar UW System cuts. Shankland says slashing that much money will lead to staff layoffs and program cuts. She says that makes it harder for students to finish their degrees and get into the workforce. “These cuts would translate into bottlenecks. They would make students end up staying in school longer, maybe up to a year. For example, I know that it’s already happening in some institutions, and that translates directly into more student loan debt. You know, taking out a student loan for a fifth year of college is $7,500 at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.”
Shankland says there are bills they intend to introduce and re-introduce in an attempt to address some of these issues, such as holding private voucher schools accountable. The Democrats have an accountability bill that is different than the two Republican bills now in the Assembly and Senate.