Wisconsin Republicans, Democrats sound off on Walker's budget plan

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MADISON, Wisconsin — Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal is packed with contentious ideas as he mulls a run for president next year. The list includes borrowing $1.3 billion for transportation projects, cutting the University of Wisconsin System by $300 million while freeing it from some state oversight, ending the Department of Natural Resources land purchases for the next 13 years and keeping funding for K-12 education flat while lifting a cap on school vouchers. Here's a look at what people are saying about Walker's plans:

"More than anything, my family ingrained in me the idea that anyone who worked hard could go as far as their dreams would take them. It was through their eyes that I got my first glimpse of the American dream. Today, however, I worry that too many of our fellow citizens feel that dream has become out of reach for them and their families. The budget plan tonight will help restore that America dream right here in Wisconsin." — Walker.

"There's just too many Republican legislators who don't trust the system and as a result of that don't want to give up the reins." — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, on giving up UW System oversight.

"The combination of increased autonomy and significant reduction in state support will change the way the UW System looks and operates." — UW System President Ray Cross.

"Our reliance on (borrowing) for transportation is my biggest concern." — Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, co-chairman of the Legislature's finance committee.

"To say for 10 years we're not going to buy any more land ... there should be a way to do it." — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, on the stewardship freeze.

"We've done a good job of rolling it back already. I'm hesitant to tie the hands of the DNR." — Nygren on stewardship.

"This budget is an insult to Wisconsin's children and citizens." — Betsy Kippers, a Racine teacher and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the statewide teachers' union.

"Instead of putting forward a budget that puts Wisconsin first and creates economic opportunity that focuses on job creation and our world-class education system, Gov. Walker has introduced a budget aimed more at Republican primary voters in Iowa than the needs of the people of Wisconsin." — Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.

"Budgets are all about priorities, and with this proposed budget Gov. Walker has made his priorities clear: He's more concerned with pleasing his political base and running for higher office than serving working families in Wisconsin." — U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse.

"We are continuing to move Wisconsin in the right direction." — Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, the budget committee's co-chairwoman in a joint statement.

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