Public hearings on the budget continue near Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is first on the docket to address members of the Joint Finance Committee. He uses his limited time to criticize the proposed increases to state road funding, at the cost of aid reductions to local governments. “I’m here to tell you that local streets have incurred the same harsh winters; and to say that one group of roads should get an increase while another group of roads gets a decrease is just wrong.”
Barrett, Governor Scott Walker’s opponent in the gubernatorial election, says while the Interstate highways are important, “let’s not go with this massive expansion; let’s repair what we have now.” Barrett says, “Our goal should not be to make it easier for people to get from Chicago to Door County in the summer. Our goal should be so that the people who live in our communities can get to work, can get to play, can get the goods delivered throughout the state of Wisconsin.”
Barrett also touches on his opposition to funding cuts for recycling and school aids.
Tim Sheehy president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) applauds the budget and thanks the committee for their work, saying it’s “not fun.” Sheehy says it’s critically important to get this budget right, and he believes, generally, it is right.
“It puts our fiscal house in a much better position by reducing a structural deficit; it does not borrow one-time funds; and it does not use gimmicks to push our fiscal problems down the road.”
The meeting in West Allis is the third of four official public hearings on the governor’s two-year budget proposal. Lawmakers will hear more testimony in Neenah on Wednesday.