Proposed Wis. Budget hits close to home

Published On: Jun 20 2013 05:21:20 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 21 2013 08:53:33 AM CDT
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Wisconsin's state budget cruised through the assembly this week with almost no debate.

But that isn't the case in the Senate. State Senators debated for hours on Thursday and passed the state budget just after midnight on Friday.

The state budget is almost 600 pages long; it's pretty safe to say the average Wisconsinite most likely doesn't take that on for some light reading.

While there's hundreds of line items most will never know anything about, there are some major changes we'll feel right here at home if this budget passes.

While there are plenty of unknowns about the proposed 2013-2015 Wisconsin state budget, one thing is for sure.

 "It will have an impact in the state of Wisconsin," said UW-La Crosse political science professor Joe Heim.

Among the budget items that have attracted the most attention include the proposed income tax cuts.   

Democratic State Representative Steve Doyle said while tax cuts sound good on the surface these won't help the middle class enough.

"What they chose to do was give tax cuts that would mainly benefit people over $100,000 and especially over $300,000 at the expense of people who pay property taxes," said Doyle.

But UW-La Crosse Political Science Professor Joe Heim said the middle class will actually do pretty well.

"I'm talking about a group from $25,000 to $200,000, so it's a definition of what constitutes the middle class, but that category has a bigger significant percentage cut in their taxes in terms to everyone else," said Heim.

Gov. Scott Walker's choice to reject federal funds to expand the state's Medicaid program will also directly impact the La Crosse Area.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said in La Crosse County alone, more than 1,900 people will lose their coverage.

"Fewer people will be eligible for Wisconsin Medicaid, but they will also be encouraged to apply for the federal Affordable Care Act where you actually go online and apply for things. Essentially they're being forced to do that, so that will affect a lot of people in the area," said Heim.

But those are just two of hundreds of changes coming Wisconsin's way and whether they're good or bad is a question only time can answer.

"For this budget, the Republicans control the Senate, Assembly, and governorship. So anything that happens, good or bad, are to the credit or blame of the Republican party and when we get to the election in 2014, people will be able to decide and it will be a clear choice," said Doyle.

Walker does have veto power with the state budget.

He actually has the right to change even just a couple of words in a specific proposal if he wants to.

Wisconsin has a Republican controlled Senate so the budget is expected to pass.