UPDATE: Gov. Walker signs state budget - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Gov. Walker signs state budget

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PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WKOW)-- After 57 vetoes, Governor Scott Walker has signed the Wisconsin state budget. The Sunday afternoon signing ceremony took place at a Pleasant Prairie business called Catalyst Exhibits.

"This is a great budget," Gov. Walker says. "It's a great budget for the hardworking taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin."

Walker says the $70 billion budget supports middle class families and job creators by including a $1 billion dollar tax cut. The budget also features $322 million in new funding for public education and a $100 million dollar fund for startup businesses in the state. Governor Walker says it's all about giving businesses like Catalyst Exhibits the right tools to create more jobs.

"This budget is just another example of the positive steps you and your team are doing to keep Wisconsin moving forward," Catalyst Exhibits President and CEO Tim Roberts says during Sunday afternoon's budget signing.

But just a few miles away at the Kenosha City Hall, Democrats feel differently. Minutes after the budget was signed they held a press conference to discuss their frustrations.

"It's unfortunate because we had a golden opportunity in this budget where we had a surplus. We could've done something meaningful for education, in job training. We could have stimulated the economy," Democrat Assembly Leader Peter Barca says.

Democrats argue the tax cut won't help the middle class. They say it only gives the average family less than $10 a month in relief. They say the majority of the relief is actually going to the wealthy. They also feel that the "new funding" for public education doesn't even come close to the amount of money Governor Walker cut in the last budget he signed.

"The governor is just doubling down on the same policies he's had the last two and a half years that have made this state one of the worst in the nation and the worst in the Midwest," Barca says.

The budget featured a more than $600 million dollar surplus. Governor Walker says it's a significant improvement from the last budget which brought a $3.6 billion dollar deficit. The governor says it's all thanks to a trend in making Wisconsinites more independent.

"What we're doing here is helping more people. We're transitioning people from government dependence to true independence," Walker says.

 

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PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker is signing the 2013-15 state budget into law Sunday afternoon at a business in Pleasant Prairie, WI.

Gov. Walker has vetoed 57 items in the budget. Those vetoes include, striking down a bail bondsmen program and allowing the Center for Investigative Journalism to continue operating on the UW-Madison campus.

Before signing the budget, the governor spoke to a crowd at Catalyst Exhibits saying the new, $68 million spending plan focuses on five key priorities: creating jobs, expanding workforce, transforming education, investing in infrastructure and moving towards an independent government.

"This is a great budget," Walker said in a speech. "A great budget for the hardworking taxpayers in the state of Wisconsin."

The governor highlights income tax relief of nearly $1 billion for all taxpayers in the state. A press release indicates this is the largest income tax cut in 14 years, 80 percent going to the middle class.

Gov. Walker says the budget invests $308 million in new state funds for public education and quality educational opportunities for students throughout the state, by capping UW System tuition for two years, provide $2 million to support the UW Flexible Option Degree Program and expanding the school voucher system. 

The governor says another key component of the budget will cut the number of people without health insurance in the state in half, increasing state funds for Medicaid by $685 million.

We're also expected to hear from Democratic lawmakers Sunday afternoon in response to the budget. Stay tuned to 27 News and wkow.com for the latest.

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MADISON (AP) -- Governor Scott Walker is vetoing provisions in the state budget that would have allowed bounty hunters to operate in Wisconsin and kicked an investigative journalism center off the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Governor Walker plans to sign the budget and release all 57 vetoes on Sunday. He discussed the vetoes with The Associated Press on Friday.

Walker's major priorities remain unchanged. Those include a $650 million income tax cut, rejection of federal Medicaid expansion and expanding private school vouchers statewide.

Walker says he's vetoing the bail bondsmen provision because it's a policy he's "not thrilled with." He says whether the Center for Investigative Journalism operates on the UW-Madison campus is an issue for the Board of Regents.

He's also allowing kringle to be named the official Wisconsin pastry.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A day before Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the new state budget, lawmakers and special interest groups are wondering what will stay and what will go.

The two-year, $68 million budget has gone through months of debate and a number of changes from the governor's original proposal. We'll find out Sunday afternoon whether Gov. Walker will veto any provisions that haven't been taken out.

So far, Walker has received about 200 requests to either veto or protect portions of the state budget awaiting his signature, but he hasn't indicated what he'll consider striking down. In his first budget, Gov. Walker issued 50 vetoes.

The governor is scheduled to sign the budget Sunday afternoon in Pleasant Prairie.

Tune in to 27 News and wkow.com Sunday for an update.

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