MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Governor Scott Walker on Sunday, June 30th signed the 2013-15 state budget into law. On Wednesday, July 3rd Gov. Walker talked with FOX6 News about the state budget, recent Supreme Court rulings regarding same-sex marriage, what his plans are for 2016 and, of course, the Packers.
According to Gov. Walker’s office, the $68 billion budget provides nearly $1 billion in tax relief for Wisconsin families, $322 million in additional state aid for public schools, and a $100 million investment in workforce development.
The budget covers the state for the next two years, and institutes a handful of major policy changes in the state, including:
FOX6's Kim Murphy: Many Democratic leaders call the budget extreme and irresponsible. Gov. Walker, how to you respond to criticism of the budget?
Gov. Walker: A billion dollars worth of tax relief, everybody benefits. Everybody who pays income tax will see a relief there. Both as individuals, and besides that, small business owners win big in this regard. That's more money that's put right back into their businesses, which hires more people. Particularity in key industries like manufacturing and agriculture. So it's a win for the tax payers of the state.
FOX6"s Jessob Reinsbeck: The budget rejects federal aid for BadgerCare. What are your thoughts on BadgerCare?
Gov. Walker: We put over 600 million dollars more state money into our Medicaid program to help needy families. Going forward, everybody living in poverty will be covered. That didn't happen in the past, under Governor Doyle. The program was capped off. There will be about 224,000 fewer people uninsured. There will also be fewer people on Medicaid, because we helped transition more people into the traditional market and to the new exchanges in the federal level. Overall it's good. Everyone living in poverty going forward will be covered. And that means good access to healthcare for people of the state of Wisconsin.
FOX6's Nicole Koglin: The 2013-2015 Wisconsin state budget ends all residency requirements — including in Milwaukee. On Tuesday, July 2nd city leaders voted 13-2 to continue enforcement of a rule that requires city employees to live in Milwaukee. Gov. Walker, are you surprised by this?
Gov. Walker: No, but in the end, the way you make for a great city anywhere, whether it's Milwaukee or anywhere else, is not by putting a wall up and trying to feed people in. You do it by having safer streets, great schools, good communities and a good economy. All those things are benefited by our budget.
FOX6's Kim Murphy: The Supreme Court struck down a key part of DOMA that denied legally married same-sex couples the same federal benefits provided to heterosexual spouses. Gov. Walker, what does this mean for Wisconsin?
Gov. Walker: You know, we looked at it with the Department of Justice and legal console -- it has an impact as far as federal benefits. That's really what the decision did nationally. But in Wisconsin, back in 2006, the voters approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage between one man and one woman. That will not change. That's not altered by this (DOMA) decision. It would take another voter, the people, to change that. I don't know if that would come any time in the future.