(WQOW) – Local lawmakers, the Attorney General, and head of the university system all commented on the proposals put forth Thursday night by Governor Tony Evers.
Here are those comments:
Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer)
“I am hoping to find common ground with Governor Evers’s on some of his budget proposals, such as increasing funding for rural broadband expansion and assisting our local District Attorneys and public defenders. However, I am disappointed with the amount of partisan policy presented tonight by a Governor who ran as a unifier. Many of these proposals set a divisive tone for future negotiations.
Over the coming days and weeks, I will be reading over the actual budget and digging into the proposals. I look forward to gathering input from my constituents to ensure that this budget accurately reflects the interests of the people of the 67th Assembly District.”
Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva)
“Naturally, I am cautious about the Governor’s items presented in his proposal. Over the last 8 years, Wisconsin has been financially responsible with its budgeting and we need to make sure that will continue to be the case going forward. With record low unemployment numbers and more people working than ever before in our history, we cannot afford to go backwards.
As chair of the Assembly Workforce Development Committee, I believe there is common ground to be found and that we can continue to help employers find the talent they need to continue expanding in Wisconsin. My priorities for this budget will remain the same and include strong funding for our schools, keeping taxes low for families and businesses, and doing what we can to make sure everyone who needs a job can find a job.
Tonight was just the first step in a long process, as we in the legislature, not the Governor, are elected by the people to determine how monies will be distributed. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be working diligently with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Assembly, Senate, and the Joint Finance Committee to prioritize the needs and interests of the people of the 93rd Assembly District.”
Rep. Treig Pronchinskie (R-Mondovi)
“Governor Evers has made his speech for his budget and it is time that we work together to address the issues facing our state and find long term solutions for these problems. The important thing with the end product of our budget is we need a well-rounded Wisconsin and great opportunities in the 92nd district and I will keep my commitment to fight for these things
Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie)
“This evening, Governor Tony Evers introduced a budget that seems to be more of a laundry list of liberal policy items than a budget focused on keeping our state moving in the right direction. While I am deeply concerned about the huge increases in spending and the taxes that go with it, I am also concerned with many of the Governor’s policy proposals.
“On the other hand, I am pleased to see there are a few areas where it appears that the Governor tried to find common ground. Those include the continuation of the tuition freeze that keeps costs down for Wisconsin’s college students along with his ideas to improve cancer screenings and reduce both homelessness and our state’s infant mortality rate.
“The Governor’s budget contains some promising ideas but unfortunately, many more troublesome ones. The legislature will now have an opportunity to present its ideas with the hope of finding common ground and helping Wisconsin’s families.
“Throughout the budget process, I will carefully examine each aspect with an eye towards making state government more efficient and financially responsible. As always, my goal is to continue making Wisconsin a great place to live by strengthening educational opportunities, reducing the size of government, and putting more money in the hands of the hardworking taxpayers in west-central Wisconsin and across our entire state. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Governor to tackle the issues facing our state and to keep Wisconsin moving forward.”
UW System President Ray Cross:
“We applaud Governor Evers’ enthusiastic commitment to funding higher education and the University of Wisconsin System. We agree that higher education is vital to growing Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, improving lives, and providing Wisconsinites opportunities to earn higher wages.
“By fully funding the tuition freeze in his proposed budget, Governor Evers is committed to preserving the quality of education critical to student success.
“Additionally, his proposed investments in capacity-building initiatives of high-demand programs can help position Wisconsin for an even brighter future.
“We look forward to working with the Governor and legislators to advance our shared priorities.”
UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer
“The 2019-21 state budget proposal that Gov. Evers sent to the Legislature Thursday, Feb. 28, is a positive first step for our institutions in receiving the state support we need to continue to provide a quality education for our students.
“The budget includes a $43.69 million funding increase for 2019-20 and another $65.99 million increase for the second year of the biennium. The governor also wants the UW System to get $40.4 million over the biennium to pay for its share of a proposed pay increase: a 2 percent increase on July 1; and another 2 percent on July 1, 2020.
“Of the new money, UW-Stout would benefit by sharing a $45 million increase for so-called ‘capacity building’ initiatives. UW-Stout has submitted a proposal, costing in excess of $800,000, to add faculty in computer science, computer networking and applied mathematics; expand engineering programs; and allow our Career Services office to create more internship and co-op experiences.
“The campus also would share in a $50.4 million allocation to replace money that would be lost by continuing the tuition freeze for another two years.
“I thank Gov. Evers for making the UW System a priority in his first budget. The governor’s proposals certainly align with our priorities, and they would help us continue to produce graduates that are so valued in the workplace they have a 98.2 percent employment rate in the year after leaving campus.
“Going forward, we will continue to make the case with legislators for increased wages for our faculty and staff and additional funding to ensure that we continue to provide a quality education for our students, thereby growing Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, improving lives and providing Wisconsin residents with a chance to earn higher wages.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul:
“Glad to see the governor’s budget includes much needed resources to support the criminal justice system. By adequately funding the state crime labs, allocating resources for more prosecutors, and increasing funding for treatment and diversion programs, we can make Wisconsin safer.”