Gov. Walker Vows to Work With Lawmakers to Restore His Proposed Cuts to K-12
Wisconsin received disappointing budget news on Wednesday. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau told the state not to expect additional tax revenue to roll in, over the next two years.
State leaders were hoping revenue would exceed expectations, so they could restore some cuts Gov. Walker made in his budget.
Walker says he had hoped for better news, so he would not have to carry out his plan to cut $127 million from K-12 education.
“Our hope as I’ve said for the past month or so, is that we can find other savings in the budget, working with Joint Finance committee members and the legislature as a whole, to put into public education," he says. "I don’t know if there will be a lot more room on top of that but, we want to make sure our public schools are made whole."
Walker did not suggest where the state could get the $127 million. He also refrained from commenting on what might happen with his proposed $300 million dollar cut to the UW System. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says lawmakers will attempt to reduce the cut, but people should not get their hopes up.
“If we’re able to find additional savings, part of those could go to the university, part of those could go to other areas. But we don’t want anybody to walk away without thinking that our top priority without any question is K-12 education,” Vos says.
A couple Democrats who sit on the Joint Finance committee responded to Wednesday’s fiscal projections. Rep. Gordon Hintz says he hopes Republicans see that their strategy of cutting taxes to spur spending, is not working.
“Their salvation was going to be this pot of gold that was going to appear in the April revenue report and now that that has failed to materialize I hope my colleagues on the other side will see the light,” Hintz says.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach urged Republicans to focus on more than public schools, when they look for ways to restore funding cuts. “K-12, UW and long term care,” Erpenbach says.
The Joint Finance committee is in the process of pouring through the budget Gov. Walker handed the Legislature. The Assembly and Senate expect to finalize their decisions in June.