The state Legislature's budget-setting Joint Finance Committee heard from educators, students, local government, and business leaders in Eau Claire on Friday. At a day-long public hearing at UW-Eau Claire, more than 140 people signed up to speak to the committee.

Pam Christenson of the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers Association, handed out T-shirts that read "I'm not Big Oil" to about 50 area gas station and convenience store owners. Christenson says the group was there to oppose the governor's proposed tax on oil companies, which they believe will be passed on to consumers and independent gas station owners. The group also opposes a 75-cents per-pack increase in the cigarette tax.

Eau Claire School Superintendent, Dr. Ron Heilmann, was one of several area administrators who spoke on the difficulties facing school districts. Heilmann says revenue limits over the past 16 years are threatening public schools across the state. Eau Claire is one of several districts considering lay-offs for teachers and other staff to cut expenses.

More hearings are scheduled next week in Racine, Appleton, and Cambridge.

AUDIO: Dan Lea reports (MP3 :47)

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