Over the next three months the state legislature will debating Governor Walker’s proposed budget. There are many controversial changes propose by the Governor that have receive intense opposition in the public hearings and in hundreds of legislative listening sessions on the budget.

Governor Walker has proposed a $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin and radically change the governing structure to give the Board of Regents the power to set university tuition and to eliminate policies like shared governance and tenure without public input. There is stiff opposition from the public and legislative leaders are abandoning the Governor’s plan.

SeniorCare is also on the Governor Walker’s chopping block by forcing Wisconsin seniors into the more costly Medicare Part D, which would cost seniors an average of $700 per year more for prescription drugs. SeniorCare is the most successful senior prescription drug program in America. Opposition to Governor Walker’s plan is so strong that even his most ardent supporters have vowed to change this proposal.

The Governor’s budget also makes radical changes to Wisconsin’s nationally recognized long-term care programs by turning them over to the insurance industry. This shift in long-term care options will leave the elderly, individuals with disabilities and their families shifting in the wind and uncertain about their future care options.

While Governor has proposed deep cuts to education, health care and public safety, he has proposed borrowing over $1.5 billion, yes billion, dollars by putting transportation projects and a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks on the state credit card, shifting even more debt to our children and grandchildren.

Over the next three months we shall see if legislative Republicans have listened to the people who will be adversely affected by some of Governor Walker’s radical proposals and have the will to make the much needed changes to the state budget.

I am always interested in knowing your opinion. If you have any questions, or would like information regarding any state issue please feel free to contact me at Sen.Ringhand@legis.wi.gov or at (608) 266-2253.