Barbs for Walker budget at public hearing
GREENDALE, Wis. — The first of four public hearings on Gov. Scott Walker's $68 billion budget proposal attracted hundreds of people Thursday, with many speaking out against his plans to expand private school vouchers, reject a federal Medicaid reimbursement and remove a residency requirement for public workers.
The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee is holding the hearings across the state to take comment on the budget before reconvening later this month to begin voting on changes. That process will take a couple months and the full Legislature, also controlled by Republicans, is expected to pass the budget sometime in June.
Several people objected to Walker's plans for Medicaid, calling it a bad deal for the state. He is calling for lowering the income eligibility for poor adults in the BadgerCare program from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 100 percent. A cap on a program for childless adults is being lifted to allow more people into the program, but others will be dropped because they earn too much money.
Under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, the federal government would have reimbursed the state the full cost of covering people up to 138 percent of poverty. Walker rejected that, saying he wasn't confident the federal government would stick with its commitment to pay.