Governor gives reasons for vetoes after signing budget into law - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Governor gives reasons for vetoes after signing budget into law

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW)- From health care to education to job creation, a new state budget will affect almost all of us.  On Monday, Governor Walker came to Chippewa Falls to talk about the decisions he made as he signed the bill. 

The two-year budget includes a $650 million income tax cut, rejects a federal Medicaid expansion and allows for the expansion of private school vouchers statewide.  The program will cap enrollment at 500 students in the first year.

Governor Walker vetoed 57 items on Sunday when he signed the budget into law.  Among those was a veto of bail bondsmen.  It would have allowed judges in five counties to let defendants hire bail bond agencies.

"We vetoed it before when it was larger.  This was more narrowly focused," points out the governor.  "But still, talking to the attorney general, talking to law enforcement, there was still a serious concern about the policy of this and so I sided with law enforcement on this."

The governor also vetoed an amendment to the school voucher expansion.  According to the Associated Press, the amendment would've allowed existing voucher schools to accept students without having them count toward the cap.

"Whether people love me or hate me, hopefully most people in this state respect the fact that I keep my word," Governor Walker says.  "And in this case, because I had agreed to something with those lawmakers, I wanted to make sure that the final product, even though I'd love to see it go even further, that I kept it intact.  And that's exactly what I did."

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

"It wouldn't have mattered what I did with vetoes or not, they were going to put that press release out.  They had it written before the budget, before the vetoes were even made," counters the governor.  "Overall, this is a good budget for the people of Wisconsin and I'm proud to have signed it into law."

The governor also vetoed the tobacco use surcharge for state employees.  Initially, the governor wanted to make state workers who smoke pay $50 more per month for health insurance.  He said the state is unable to design the program in a way that will encourage tobacco users to quit and still be cost-effective to run.

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