State lawmakers talk state budget in Eau Claire

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Two local democrats talked about Governor Scott Walker's budget at a forum on the UW-Eau Claire campus Friday.

Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) came to the university to take part in a town hall discussion on what the budget means for higher education and the UW System.

The governor's proposed two-year budget includes $181 million in new taxpayer investments in the UW System. A UW System executive says the money could allow the board of regents to impose a smaller tuition increase than in previous years.

Wachs says education in the state should be a main priority. "I think there were a lot of significant cuts a couple years ago and we're starting to make end roads about filling up some of those cuts but there's still a lot of bleeding that's been going on in the university system," Wachs said.

Secretary of the Department of Administration, Mike Huebsch talked with us on Tuesday and told us Walker's number one priority is creating jobs. "We're trying to create an environment whereby jobs will be created. Over the last few years we created tens of thousands of jobs but know that in the 3 years prior to the governor being elected, we lost about 130,000 so we have a lot of work to do there and we're setting the environment in place."

The UW System's vice president for budget and planning says right now, students pay 70% of the cost of their education with the state making up the rest. She says in the 1970s, the state paid 75% of the cost of education.

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