Budget reactions mixed
The Legislature finally approved the long-awaited state budget Tuesday. It now goes to Gov. Jim Doyle for his signature.
Here is how area senators voted and why:
Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, Yes.
“This budget ensures that thousands of Wisconsin kids will no longer be deprived of the right to quality health care. It increases aid for struggling school districts, invests in our great university system and helps families pay for college and for health insurance. It protects SeniorCare and honors our promise of tuition breaks and low-interest home loans to Wisconsin veterans.
“The budget increases the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Rock County nursing homes, doubles a state grant for Janesville’s HealthNet; provides $20,000 for the Rock County CARE House; designates $235,000 for a Janesville pedestrian tunnel; and funds an additional half-time prosecutor position for Rock County”
Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, Yes.
“The state budget compromise keeps our schools safely funded, protects property tax payers, preserves the University of Wisconsin, provides funding for local governments and transportation projects, and creates BadgerCare Plus to offer health care to Wisconsin’s children.
“In addition, southern Wisconsin will move forward with the state’s first soybean crushing facility in Evansville and a state-of-the art lung cancer facility at University Hospital, Madison.”
Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, No.
Here is how area representatives voted and why:
Rep. Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville, Yes.
“The budget took longer than necessary because of the politics, but it’s got funding for all the necessary programs like schools and roads and colleges, all of which are important.
“…I think one of the bigger things is that every child in Wisconsin will have access to health care through BadgerCare Plus, and that’s a biggie.”
Rep. Chuck Benedict, D-Beloit, No.
“I think priorities for health care expansion to cover all children, funding of education and municipalities, and protection of our environment are well placed.
“My main concern is that the funding relies significantly on a raid of the Injured Patients Compensation Fund.
“Including this in the budget is short sighted. It will trigger litigation which will likely go on for years, and essentially makes one of the funding pillars of this budget a pillar of sand.”
Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, Yes.
"The bi-partisan budget compromise isn't perfect, but Wisconsin must have a budget. The agreement not only cuts taxes and limits state spending lower than our families' projected income growth, but also invests in Wisconsin’s priorities.
“We helped lower health care costs, invest in education, grow our economy and cut our structural deficit to its lowest level in 12 years.”
Rep. Kim Hixson, D-Whitewater, Yes.
“This budget might not be the total solution both sides wanted, but it’s a compromise that finally got the job done. We need to continue to work in a bi-partisan way for the good of Wisconsin. I’m glad that we finally have a budget and can move on.”
Rep. Thomas Lothian, R-Williams Bay, No.
Rep. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, No.
“This budget isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, and the taxpayers will unfortunately be held hostage to pay for it. If the economy softens significantly, as predicted, this state will face a fiscal crisis.”