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Governor, lawmakers hold budget listening sessions across Wisconsin

NOW: Governor, lawmakers hold budget listening sessions across Wisconsin

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KENOSHA (CBS 58) - The public is weighing in on the state budget fight.

The governor and lawmakers spent the day at listening sessions Wednesday.

With divided government right now, it’s going to be a long battle.

But hundreds of people shared what they think is the most important thing to fight for in the next two year budget.

The Joint Committee on Finance held a public meeting in Oak Creek.

“It just really surprised me in getting to watch people be so passionate,” said Alyssa Prasse, who came to the meeting to speak about the ACLU.

The committee spent 9 hours listening to one speaker after another.

Some waited all day to get a couple minute to talk. “I think they’re still talking to people that signed up at 9:30 this morning,” Prasse said.

“This is arguably the most important hearing we have the whole two years,” said Rep. Jonathan Brostoff from Milwaukee’s 19th Assembly District.

The budget battle is a messy one, but lawmakers like Rep. Brostoff say this is an important step in that process.

“You have to hear from the folks, it’s wonderfully valuable to be able to get kind of direct knowledge from the people that are being affected,” said Rep. Brostoff.

Almost every topic was brought up, but one kept being repeated.

“We heard all about Badgercare expansion,” said Rep. Brostoff.

“I’m really concerned that our budget addresses holes in our healthcare delivery system,” said Lydia Spottswood.

She cared enough about healthcare to drive through a snowstorm to attend the governor’s listening session at the Kenosha Public Museum.

“Our healthcare is completely out of alignment with the rest of the developed world,” said Spottswood.

“This a really critical event,” said Gov. Tony Evers before the session started, “I’ll be going to each group and listening and taking in what you’re saying.”

“Doing a statewide budget is a behemoth job and I love the fact that the governor is coming here to the local level,” said Spottswood.

“I like that you have options,” said Kristie Fowler who also attended the event.

Fowler is concerned about foster care in the state, but is glad every group should have their chance to affect the budget process.

“It’s a great opportunity to network and get your voice heard and feel optimistic about what’s coming,” said Fowler.

With divided government right now, it’s unlikely the governor will get the majority of what he wants.  One lawmaker we spoke with today said this debate could last months.

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