Area Residents Speak Out on State Budget Proposal
By Lauren Linder, WSAW-TV (Channel 7)
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Creating a state budget takes a lot of work, and Governor Scott Walker's current proposal is taking a lot of criticism. On Saturday North-Central Wisconsin residents spoke out on the proposal that includes cuts to the University of Wisconsin System.
"I really love Wisconsin. I've lived here for pretty much my entire life," Tristan Adams said.
He is a student at UW-Marathon County and receiving a degree from a UW school is a matter of pride for him. Now he says, that pride for future students is threatened by the state's budget proposal.
"Our degrees aren't going to hold weight anymore," Adams said, just one of many worries mentioned at a public hearing at UW-Marathon County Saturday.
"What in the world is going on in our state," one attendee said.
Democratic state lawmakers are giving North-Central Wisconsin residents a forum to speak out on the proposed budget cuts. Most said they are concerned about the future of their state's schools.
Cuts would include $300 million from the UW System and more than $100 million from public schools.
"Every generation thinks you know I just want my children to have a better life than what I had. This one, this budget doesn't help them," Democratic Representative of the 71st District Katrina Shankland said.
"What's happening is scary," Joyce Luedke said.
Luedke, a Wausau resident, said it is a matter of the future for her three grandchildren.
"It is not the responsibility of taxpayers to provide a private or religious education. Our responsibility is to provide an education to the public schools," Luedke said.
However, as Governor Walker said in his address, not everyone is going to be happy with the proposed budget.
"We had to make some tough choices and you all, the members of the Legislature in the coming months will have to make some tough choices as well," Walker said.
For Adams, he just hopes people educate themselves.
"Whether you're Republican, whether you're Democratic, whether you're Libertarian, this affects all of us, and it is something that I feel simply, stay current, look it up, figure out how it's going to affect you, cause it will," Adams said.
Changes to senior care and transportation were also discussed.
Saturday's hearing was the second of nine public hearing sessions by local democrats - Shankland, as well as Senator Julie Lassa of the 24th District and Representative Gordon Hintz of the 54th District.
Republican representatives will be holding a budget listening session on April 6th at Granite Peak Ski Hill at 5:30 p.m.