State lawmakers have wrapped up their first round of public hearings on the proposed state budget.
The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee was in Sparta Monday, where hundreds of people turned out to comment on the budget plan. Committee co-chair Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says it provides real feedback on key issues.
Comments on Monday covered a wide variety of issues, such as a proposed increase in the cigarette tax, education funding, and the creation of domestic partner registries. Pocan says it's good to hear what the public and interest groups have to say, since it provides real feedback on the impact of the state budget.
Pocan says most of the comments and concerns were about what he expected out of the hearing. He says many groups made the case for a boost in state funding to programs and agencies they see as vital. Several speakers are also testified against proposed tax and fee increases included in the budget proposal.
Hearings will be held over the next two weeks in Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Appleton, Racine, and Cambridge.