(Blaze/AP) Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed his first budget Sunday, a two-year $66 billion deal that will balance the state's $3 billion shortfall without raising taxes. Balancing the budget without raising taxes fulfills a campaign pledge, and Gov. Walker was able to accomplish this prior to the new fiscal year starting July 1. The budget passed without the support of a single Democrat in the Legislature.
"He released just 50 vetoes early Sunday morning, signaling the Republican-controlled Legislature had given him almost everything he wanted when lawmakers revised the document. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle issued 81 vetoes with the 2009-11 budget, his last before leaving office.
'As a state, we can choose to take the easy road and push off the tough decisions and pass the buck to future generations, or we can step up to the plate and make the tough decisions today,' Walker said in prepared remarks. 'Our budget chooses to fix our problems now, so that our children and our grandchildren don't face the same challenges we face today.'"
To find the state out of the fiscal quagmire which he inherited, Gov. Walker had to make major cuts including shaving $1.85 billion from education and $500 million in unspecified Medicaid programs. The budget expands Milwaukee's school voucher program to suburban schools in Milwaukee County and the city of Racine.
Gov. Walker signed the budget before a crowd of about 100 people in Green Bay, with a few hundred protesters gathered outside chanting "Shame!" and "Recall Walker!" reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Democrats have criticized the budget as an attack on middle class values since it cuts funding for public schools and tax credits for poor people.
Wisconsin is scheduled to have recall elections in August that could result in Democrats gaining a majority in the Senate and with it power to block Walker and the GOP's agenda in the future.