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UW leaders react to Walker tuition cut idea

Walker proposes UW tuition cut

MADISON, Wis. - University of Wisconsin leaders aren't saying much yet about Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to cut in-state undergraduate tuition.

Walker proposed a tuition cut in his State of the State speech on Tuesday. He did not say how much it would be, but his spokesman Tom Evenson says it will be paid for.

UW System President Ray Cross is applauding Walker for trying to keep college affordable, but did not comment specifically on the tuition cut plan.

University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank says she hopes Walker and the Legislature would fully fund the tuition cut and increase funding for the university in line with the $42 million that was requested.

Walker has not said how much funding he will propose for UW.

Bipartisan praise for Walker's UW tuition cut

Legislative leaders are praising Walker's proposal to cut UW tuition for in-state undergraduate students.

But they also want to see more details.

Walker made the surprise announcement in his State of the State address Tuesday. He didn't say how much he planned to cut tuition or how it would be paid for.

Budget committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren says he wants to weigh the idea against all of the other priorities in the budget. He says Walker's office told him it would be paid for with general state revenue.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is more critical, saying he doesn't want to "head down the Bernie Sanders route" of free college tuition.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says if Walker can pay for the cut, he's all for it.

Republicans praise Walker State of State

Republicans are praising Walker's State of the State speech where he promised to cut University of Wisconsin undergraduate tuition and focus on workforce development.

Sen. Leah Vukmir, of Wauwatosa, says Walker's speech Tuesday "reflects exactly what we're seeing here in the state of Wisconsin."

Walker touted the lowest unemployment rate in 15 years, job growth and tax cuts Republicans have enacted as signs that Wisconsin is "winning."

Vukmir says "our message is resonating with the good people of Wisconsin."

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he looks forward to working with Democrats "to build upon our successes and find long-term solutions to the issues facing our state."

Democrats rip Walker State of State

Wisconsin Democratic leaders say Walker painted a rosy picture that doesn't reflect reality in his State of the State address.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling told reporters in a news conference following the speech Tuesday that Walker seems to have forgotten his first-term goal of creating 250,000 new jobs and has overseen five years of below-average jobs growth. She also criticized him for not acknowledging ongoing investigations into the state's Lincoln Hills youth prison facility and King veteran home in his speech.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca issued a news release taking Walker to task for doing little to relieve student debt and cutting the University of Wisconsin system funding by $250 million. He also criticized Walker for what he called a "lagging" economy and poor roads.

Tonette Walker speaks during State of State

In a break with tradition, first lady Tonette Walker is speaking during Gov. Scott Walker's annual State of the State address.

Tonette Walker joined Walker Tuesday at the podium in front of the joint meeting of the state Senate and Assembly to discuss her work trying to prevent and reduce childhood trauma.

She has been working on the Fostering Futures initiative since Walker took office in 2011.

This isn't the first time Walker has mixed things up during the State of the State. In his first speech six years ago, Green Bay Packers president Mike Murphy spoke via a video link just days before the Super Bowl.

In 2014 Walker invited workers to join him, but one of them was later revealed to be a sex offender and felon.

Walker promises to cut UW tuition

Walker is promising to cut tuition for all undergraduates in the University of Wisconsin System.

Walker made the promise Tuesday in his State of the State address. It comes after tuition has been frozen at UW for four years.

Walker says the budget he releases next month "will do more than just freeze tuition." He says it will be cut, but he doesn't give any details.

The UW Board of Regents voted to approve a plan to keep tuition flat next year and raise it no more than the rate of inflation after that if the Legislature allows it.

Walker has also promised to increase funding for the UW System after cutting it by $250 million in his last budget.

Walker says in speech that Wisconsin is winning

Gov. Scott Walker says in his seventh State of the State address that Wisconsin is "winning" and that the future of the state is bright.

Walker said in the speech Tuesday that workforce development is his top priority for the next year "and beyond." The focus is a shift for Walker, whose signature campaign promise in 2010 was to create 250,000 private-sector jobs in four years. He only got about halfway to that goal.

The speech comes as Walker is eying running for a third term. He is promising to spend more on K-12 schools and specifically help rural districts, but didn't offer details.

Democrats say Walker is ignoring the biggest problems facing the state and his tenure as governor has been a failure.


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