Walker continues pitch for his budget proposal

Published: Feb. 20, 2017 at 8:05 PM CST
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Bulldog pride came out strong in Chetek on Monday as Gov. Scott Walker came north to make another pitch for the next biennial budget.

The stop Monday at Chetek-Weyerhauser High School was, in part, a pitch for the education portion of his $76.1 billion budget.

Walker’s main address was focused on investments earmarked in the budget for K-12 and rural schools. However, he also touched on another part of the budget proposal – transportation.

His budget contains $6.1 billion in this section, including a $40 million increase for counties and local municipalities. Walker said Monday his push for transportation was not just for the major cities, but also smaller communities, like where he spoke in Barron County.

"We put more money into local aids for our counties and municipalities than ever before,” he said. “In fact, for local road and bridge aids, it's going to be the biggest increases they've seen in 15 to 20 years.

"If this budget gets approved the way we proposed, the total amount spent on transportation or eight years will be about $24 billion. That's about $3 billion more than (former governor) Jim Doyle spent during the eight years he was in."

But with new money being proposed for transportation in the 2017-2019 budget, Rep. Dana Wachs of the 91st assembly district isn't sure where that money will come from.

"If you decide to throw all your eggs in one basket, then you need to make sure that basket is well maintained and continues to operate in a good fashion,” Wachs, who sits on the assembly’s transportation committee, said to WEAU 13 News on Monday.

"Obviously education. Obviously transportation are critical for the state, but how much money is really going to be there when it's all said and done. In terms of this budget, I'm not sure at this point."

Walker said, while talks are still early on how his entire budget will look, he remains confident he'll still have a budget deal in place by the end of June.