State budget: Outline of key points including big education cuts

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker's two-year budget released Tuesday calls for a wide range of cuts, but no tax increases, to balance a $3.6 billion shortfall while also eliminating a number of Democratic-backed laws enacted in recent years. Here's a look at some of the highlights:



-- Does not include any state sales or income tax increases and would limit schools and local governments on how much they could raise property taxes. Walker also said he wouldn't increase any fees.

-- Creates a 100 percent exclusion from capital gains taxes for those who invest in Wisconsin-based businesses and hold those investments for at least five years.



-- Cuts $500 million from Medicaid through a variety of reforms including increasing co-pays and deductibles, but not by reducing benefits across the board or cutting provider reimbursement rates.



-- Cuts aid to schools by about $900 million and also reduces how much schools can collect from property taxes per student.

-- Eliminates the requirement that schools be open 180 days a year, but retains the classroom hours mandate. The change would allow schools that want to meet for fewer, longer days to do so.

-- Repeals the enrollment limit for the virtual charter school program and the Milwaukee school choice program.



-- Allows the University of Wisconsin-Madison to split from the UW System and operate independently. The system would have to launch a study into allowing UW-Milwaukee to break off as well.

-- Cuts aid to UW-Madison by $125 million and to the other 25 campuses in the system by $125 million.

-- Ends the Wisconsin Covenant program, one of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's signature programs, on Sept. 30. The program promises financial aid for college to middle school students who promise to stay out of trouble and earn decent grades. Students who sign up for the program before Sept. 30 could still participate. Walker argues this change would protect other forms of financial aid from cuts.

-- Children of illegal immigrants who attend state universities and colleges could no longer pay in-state tuition, a benefit granted in the 2009 budget by Democrats then in control of the Legislature and the governor's office.

-- Cuts aid to technical colleges by 30 percent, or $72 million.

-- Authorizes all four-year UW campuses to sponsor independent charter schools and allow charter schools to be created anywhere in the state.



-- Provides $225 million to rebuilding the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee.

-- Provides $195 million to continue reconstruction of Interstate 94 between Milwaukee and Kenosha.



-- Ends the ability of prison offenders to earn time off their sentences for good behavior, a change approved by Democrats.

-- Ends the state Department of Corrections' ability to discharge an offender from parole after two years and from probation after serving half the sentence.

-- Closes the Ethan Allen School, a detention facility for boys, and move inmates to Lincoln Hills School in Lincoln County.

-- Closes the Southern Oaks Girls School, a detention facility for girls, and move the inmates to Copper Lake School at Lincoln Hills.

-- Provides six new full-time DNA analysts at the state crime labs to prevent case backlogs.

-- Adds 19 more staff members at the state Department of Justice to track down cyber predators.



-- Keeps hunting and fishing license fees unchanged.

-- Scales back regulations to control phosphorus pollution to bring them in line with neighboring state's rules.

-- Eliminates payments to local governments that lose property tax revenue following state Department of Natural Resources land stewardship purchases. Governments would be allowed to pass resolutions supporting or opposing purchases as a signal to the DNR, but the resolutions would not be binding. The Legislature's budget committee would have to approve stewardship purchases of more than $250,000.

-- Ends requirements that a municipality or county run solid waste recycling programs and diverts state aid for such programs to other economic development efforts.



-- State spending under the $28.7 billion plan would decrease 1.3 percent the first year then go up 5.3 percent in the second. Over the entire two-year budget spending would go up a paltry 1.3 percent.

-- Cuts most state agency budgets, except for salary and benefits, by 10 percent.

-- Eliminate 735 state positions that have been vacant for more than a year.

-- Downsizes the state treasurer and secretary of state's offices, moving many of their existing duties elsewhere. The EdVest college savings program would be removed from the treasurer's office while the secretary of state office would lose its responsibility to handle trademark and trade name registrations and notary public commissions.

-- Cuts aid to cities by $60 million, an 8.8 percent reduction, while counties would lose over $36 million, a 24 percent cut.

-- Drops the state's ongoing budget shortfall from $2.5 billion to $250 million in four years, the smallest so-called "structural deficit" on record.


Source: Gov. Scott Walker's "Budget in Brief."

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  • by WI_TAX_PAYER on Mar 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM
    Who wouldn't want this?!?!? *Adds 19 more staff members at the state Department of Justice to track down cyber predators*
  • by SAL IS RIGHT on Mar 2, 2011 at 06:58 AM
    (Right on SAL)I feel sorry for our young kids that are going to be screwed out of there education. I also feel sorry for our seniors that put there time in and worked all there life and are going to get there retirment ripped from under there feet. Who is the only ones that are going to gain by this bill. Republican business owners and people on Welfare.
  • by AJ Location: Amery on Mar 2, 2011 at 04:44 AM
    Show me when more money has increased learning. At what point could students be educated perfectly? I took about a 5% cut in pay this year and next, my dad took a 5% cut in pay and his employer cut 401k matching. The teachers have obviously made themselves the focal point of the situation. Why don't they work with in the means the new budget year brings and educate the kids. It is your jobs, my employer expects me to perform at a top level. The taxpayers (your employer) expect you to do the same.
  • by Anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:25 PM
    Cutting funding to education doesn't mean worse education. It simply means that you eliminate a few bureaucrats who sit around and find ways to expel students for treasonous offenses like taking aspirin or posting something negative on their facebook account from home. Cutting college funding is another good thing. Our tax supported colleges today are much more expensive and provide LESS education than they used to. I know this for a fact, because I've been taking classes off and on for the past 4 decades and have seen the deterioration firsthand.
  • by Budget Cuts Not Good For School Districts , Nurses, Etc! Location: EC on Mar 1, 2011 at 09:39 PM
    We need The Teachers,and Everyone else. What about the students who Need the Extra Help with School. This is going to have a huge Impact on everybody. What are you going to do about that. Think about all the heartbreaks that Everyone will have because of this. The Kids need Caring Teachers and Teachers Aides.
  • by Mary Location: Polk County on Mar 1, 2011 at 09:38 PM
    Oh, I forgot to ask....will the Milwaukee choice schools and new charter schools have the follow the same rules and mandates as the public schools? I can't believe he's increasing funding for the Milwaukee choice program when millions of dollars have gone to bogus private schools that took the money and then closed in the middle of the school year because of "mismanagement." Money down the drain. If private schools want public monies, fine, just have them follow all the same rules that public schools have to, like educating ALL children. Private schools don't have to educate special needs students, and can kick out any student that doesn't meet their standards of behavior and achievement. They aren't required to take standardized state tests, either.
  • by wow Location: ec on Mar 1, 2011 at 08:58 PM
    So let's leave the people in prison, and have it cost is more money! Really, wouldn't it be cheaper for the state and easier to let them get out early so we don't have to pay so much money to feed them or pay for there health care? If everyone person in wisconsin could pay a few extra bucks on taxes we would be out of debt!
  • by Mary Location: Polk County on Mar 1, 2011 at 08:20 PM
    This will be the end to many small school districts, along with the small communities in which they are located. How sad, these communities can't choose to pay higher property taxes in order to keep their schools operating because the budget places limits on how much they can raise local taxes.
  • by anon Location: wisconsin on Mar 1, 2011 at 08:08 PM
    So apparently he wants are children to be as dumb as he is by taking money away from schools. We wouldn't be in this situation if he woudn't have given all those tax breaks to the rich business.Even with those tax breaks there is no guarantee they will stay in wisconsin anyways.
  • by Tanya on Mar 1, 2011 at 08:03 PM
    Right on Sal - Short, sweet (or not so sweet) and to the point. I couldn't have said it any better than that.
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