Local legislators: How they voted

2011-06-17T00:00:00Z 2011-06-19T14:38:13Z Local legislators: How they votedBy Tribune staff La Crosse Tribune
June 17, 2011 12:00 am  • 

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature passed a version of Gov. Scott Walker’s two-year budget that slashes spending for education, Medicaid and aid to local governments while offering tax breaks to businesses and investors. Here’s how Coulee Region lawmakers voted and their thoughts on what the budget accomplishes and what they would have liked to change.

Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse — No

  • The good? Revisions to Walker’s original proposal to preserve a prescription drug assistance program and to keep the UW system together — even though that means deeper cuts for UW-La Crosse. “I point to SeniorCare as one area of good news. I’m pleased to see that UW is a unified system.”
  • The bad? Education cuts. “I would have minimized the cuts to education — $1.6 billion is huge. We will see the impact of that across the state — teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, reduced curriculum offerings.”

Rep. Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska — No

  • The good? Eliminating the structural spending deficit. “It’s a somewhat more honest budgeting than we’ve seen in the past. ... I do like the fact they were trying to be careful with the public’s money.”
  • The bad? Education cuts. “Everybody agrees we need to tighten our belts but to take a billion dollars out of education. … I think is extremely risky.”

Rep. Lee Nerison, R-Westby — Yes

  • The good? “What we had to do was finally start cutting back on some spending. ... We couldn’t just keep going the way we are.”
  • The bad? “I’d hate to say one certain thing I’d change in it. I think we did a good job on the budget. We got rid of the deficit and still kept our core functions.”

Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse — Yes

  • The good? “It addresses the $3 billion structural deficit we were facing and it produces a $300 million surplus.... It’s a difficult budget in that we had to make some cuts. ... We’re optimistic Wisconsin faces a brighter financial future.”
  • The bad? “A little more flexibility for the university system. I would work for that. Hopefully we can address that in the coming months.”

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma — No

  • The good? “There is a lot of money to the Medicaid program that is expanded. ... I do thank the governor for that. To the governor’s credit he did not dramatically cut Medicaid as he did education.”
  • The bad? “It would have been the money to schools. I drafted an alternative budget — I’m trying to find a way to spend the same money on K-12 and tech colleges. I’m going to re-introduce it as a bill. I accept that the governor doesn’t want to raise taxes, and I accept that he wants to pay down the debt. There’s a better way to balance the budget with the same dollars.”

Rep. Chris Danou, D-Trempealeau — No

  • The good? Two revisions to Walker’s original proposal. “The only good thing we did in this budget was saving SeniorCare and avoiding the split of UW-Madison. That’s it.”
  • The bad? Education cuts. “Those are the deepest cuts we’ve ever made to education. Kids don’t usually get to redo their school. Kids have one chance at an education.”

Rep. Mark Radcliffe, D-Black River Falls — No

  • Did not respond to interview requests but issued a written statement that he voted against the bill because it included non-fiscal policy and pork barrel spending projects.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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