Doyle Visits Chippewa Falls; Defends Budget

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The governor's plan calls for more than $950 million, while the Republican plan, released last week, allots almost $460 million.

Governor Doyle is on the defensive about what he calls the highest priority of his budget: education.

He says his plan will fully fund the state's two-thirds funding required by law, but this opponents' plan will shortchange schools, a $1.8 million cut for Chippewa Falls alone. "What they have done is cut deeply what the schools are able to spend per pupil from existing law, they've cut that by $400 million," says Doyle.

As Doyle rallies support in different school districts around the state, Republicans in session in Madison tout their own budget, calling Doyle's irresponsible and a ploy to get re-elected.

"We fully funded education and gave it two and a half times more than he gave it last time and more importantly, we put our priorities there and we paid for current Medicaid expenses with money instead of IOUs."

Wood says Doyle's plan guarantees higher property taxes in the next budget cycle. "We're not running it off borrowed funds that aren't going to be there in two years."

The Chippewa Falls school superintendent is concerned that under the Republican plan, their district could be forced to cut more than 30 teaching jobs.

"The last couple of years, we've had less than two-thirds funding," says Mike Schoch. "We have a hard time in the school business to figure what priorities and people out there and in government and our community have."

The legislature's final budget is expected on the governor's desk next week.