Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Doyle calls for speedy budget

[media-credit name=’KATE BRENNER/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]Doyle_KB[/media-credit]Gov. Jim Doyle led a press conference concerning the continued debate surrounding the state budget at Memorial Union Tuesday.

Doyle said resolving the state budget is currently the state’s "No. 1 responsibility."

The budget is 100 days overdue, and negotiations between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled Assembly have yet to result in compromise. Wisconsin is currently the only state whose Legislature has not yet reached a budget agreement.


"This is unacceptable," Doyle said. "It’s time for everyone to set aside their issues and set a budget."

Along with eliminating $300 million in new revenue, the budget proposed by Democrats includes a $1.25 cigarette tax — a provision the Assembly Republicans have expressed strong opposition to.

"I’ve been fighting it," said Rep. Scott Suder, R- Abbotsford.

However, Suder said he feels confident a compromise concerning the cigarette tax can be reached.

"I trust our speaker (Rep. Mike Huebsch, R-West Bend) to come up with an agreement," Suder said.

Doyle, however, criticized the Republicans for initially agreeing to implement the cigarette tax but then changing their stance in an effort to further stall the negotiation process.

"Whenever both sides are close to an agreement, extreme voices in the Republican caucus let out a howl and the leaders shy away," Doyle said.

Doyle continued to criticize the Republicans for wanting to reduce funding for the University of Wisconsin System by $60 million and financial aid for students by $20 million. In doing so, Doyle said the Republicans "are playing politics with our children’s future."

But Suder claims Doyle and his Democratic allies are exaggerating the implications of reducing the university’s funding.

"The ‘doom and gloom’ scenario is just not going to happen," Suder said. "They will not shut down."

The Assembly Republicans’ effort to eliminate $6.5 million of funding for Wisconsin veterans’ tuition also angered Doyle.

"The Assembly Republicans did not put one dime in the state budget for veterans’ education," Doyle said. "That’s unacceptable."

Suder said Doyle’s mention of the issue was a political stunt to rally support for the Democrats’ budget proposal.

"It’s sad that the governor has chosen this as a political tactic," Suder said.

There is nothing in the state statute, Suder added, requiring the governor to single out veterans from everyone else, and Doyle "continues to ignore the fact that we have too many administrators and too much bureaucracy" within the university system.

Doyle said he will call the Legislature into Special Session in an attempt to reach a compromise for the "most discussed budget ever."

However, Suder does not agree with the move, as it forces the negotiation process within the Legislature to make a decision on an issue not yet fully resolved.

The controversy behind Doyle’s proposed budget does not end with Assembly Republicans' concerns. Wisconsin College Republicans, who were present at the conference, clutched their protest signs and stood in disbelief as Doyle declined to mention the controversy involving UW-Madison’s disclosure of students’ financial information.

The WCR filed a formal complaint Monday with the U.S. Department of Education against UW-Madison over Doyle’s tactics in recruiting students to support his budget plan.

The WCR is accusing UW-Madison of violating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The university sent e-mails to 33 students who qualified for financial aid under the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant last year, but were denied aid this year because funding was not secure in the state budget.

UW senior and First Vice Chairman of WCR Micheal Hahn, a Badger Herald columnist, said this e-mail constitutes an infringement on students’ privacy rights.

"It’s a shame [the university] took the names of students and recruited them for a political event," Hahn said. "We want to know why they decided this was a legitimate educational purpose."

Hahn and fellow WCR members stood on the steps of Memorial Union holding signs in protest as UW student Morad Madel praised WHEG for helping reduce his loans.

"We go through this process to get an education — we don’t do it as a political process," Morad said.

The WCR will have to wait for the Department of Education to determine if an investigation is warranted.

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