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Walker to tour state to get ideas for next budget

Published On: Nov 26 2012 09:35:49 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 27 2012 07:01:08 AM CST

Gov. Scott Walker is launching a tour across Wisconsin to gather ideas about what should be prioritized in his next state budget and legislative agenda for next year.

Green Bay on Tuesday is the first stop in the "Talk with Walker Tour" the governor announced on Monday. He is scheduled to be in La Crosse later in the week with other stops in the works for Eau Claire, Wausau and the Milwaukee area.

Walker told The Associated Press in a Monday interview that the goal is to get people involved in the process of his putting together his agenda for next year.

Walker has already said he will be focusing on creating jobs, developing the workforce, education and government reforms and investing in roads, railways and other infrastructure needs.

In the new budget, Walker will have to decide how to balance his priorities and how to use a projected $1.5 billion in new revenue over the next two years.

Walker on Monday downplayed the possibility of a gas tax increase or the use of toll roads to pay for transportation projects in Wisconsin.

The state Department of Transportation's budget request is recommending delaying work on an expansion of Interstate 90 from Madison to the Illinois state line, Milwaukee's Zoo Interchange and numerous other projects around the state.

Walker said he is inclined to keep the Interstate 39 and Zoo Interchange projects on schedule without delaying other projects.

"The question becomes, how can you do that balancing out the resources that are available without delaying other projects around the state of Wisconsin? Because I think that's also a viable concern," Walker said.

The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families said things such as early childhood education would be an investment that would show even higher returns for the state.

"When I think of infrastructure, we do need things like roads and bridges and things like that, but we also need to balance that with the support of our human infrastructure, which is education and health care and other support for Wisconsin families," said Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.

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