The legislature's Joint Finance Committee has approved an ambitious expansion of the state's Stewardship Program, a DNR program to purchase land for the state. Republican Rep. Dan Meyer questioned the need for more stewardship purchases, noting the state faces threats from CWD, and invasive species: "why don't we take care of the natural resources we currently have, instead of purchasing more and more land?" Meyer asked colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee "what card is in your wallet?" Governor Jim Doyle wants to increase the total general obligation bonding authority of the stewardship program from $803 million to $1.3 billion. "Somewhere along the line, we have to live within what we can afford," said JFC co-chair, Rep. Kitty Rhoades . "I don't want my legacy for my grandchildren to be more debt than they'll ever be able to dig their way out of." A 9-to-7 vote means that for now, Doyle's plan to extend the Stewardship Fund to the year 2020 stays in the budget. A motion to require legislative oversight of the Stewardship Fund failed on a party line vote.
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