Public debate over Walker's budget proposals - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Public debate over Walker's budget proposals


WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Local leaders open the floor to voters in the area to get input on Governor Walker's budget proposal.

A handful of people came to support Walker, but organizers said the majority of the speakers who came out opposed the governor's proposals. People came out as early as 1:00 PM, waiting their turn to talk to the panel.

Legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle listen while people from across our area give them a piece of their mind.

"When did taxes become a bad word? It runs government," said AFSCME representative John Spiegelhoff.

Democratic leaders said they wanted to host this listening session since the Joint Finance Committee only scheduled four hearings across the entire state for voters to talk about Governor Walker's budget proposals.

Many were quick to defend their local expertise, one thing they say would be lost with money moving away from the municipal level.

"We talk to these people. We get to know these people. We know where they're coming from and we know what they need," said Lori Garber, who works for Marathon County Social Services. "Somebody from the state on the phone is not going to know the local agencies that can help them."

Garber said about 20% of people in Wisconsin get some type of medical aid from the government. Other people spoke in defense of health care, the transit system and schools -- all programs that stand to lose money under Walker's proposals.

"I fear for the future of my children to be getting quality public education in Wisconsin," said Spiegelhoff.

Some addressed the panel directly, saying they hoped leaders would stick to the Wisconsin values that they say make our state unique.

"Are you here because you want to serve the citizens of the state? Or are you here to serve the special interests of the state?" said Jeff Johnson of the Marathon County Democrats.

The hearing continued until 7:00PM.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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