Berlin hosts hearing on state budget

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BERLIN, Wis. (WBAY) - People were able to give their input on Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget in Berlin on Friday.

Wisconsin's Joint Finance Committee held its third public budget hearing.

It's one of six hearings that take place across the state.

It's a time for constituents to speak for two minutes to their legislators about the governor's budget and to be listened to.

"I make a line for everyone that speaks, I write down what they say, a synopsis of what they talk about so I think we do take it seriously," said Sen. Luther Olsen (R- Ripon).

Education was a major topic this morning.

Members of the committee say they hope to pass something close to the governors proposed $649 million dollars in new state aid to K-12 schools.

Several school district administrations gave support for that and the proposed $200 increase in per student aid.

"New London strongly supports this proposal as it provides an annual revenue of $480 hundred thousand," Joe Marquardt, New London Schools Director of Business Services said. "New London is a declining enrollment district so this revenue allows for revenue stabilization."

They also gave their take on what needs more funding.

"Mental health continues to be a concern for everybody in our community and our state although there's some money in the budget it will not be close to offering the needs we have," said Mary Pfeiffer, Superintendent of Neenah Joint School District.

Legislators also heard from several people about the need for expanding a jobs program for low-income unemployed adults and funding support for local roads.

It's a great opportunity for people to talk to their lawmakers face to face about what's important to them.

"People in other states don't have this opportunity so for us to be able to come here and speak to our legislators directly that is awesome," said Carol Lenz of Northeast WI WiLD Budget Action Team.

There will be three more budget hearings across the state including one at Marinette High School April 21st.