MADISON, Wis. - The cost of Gov.
Scott Walker's plan to reject federally funded Medicaid
expansion and instead tighten income eligibility for the program
has gone up.
A new estimate from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau
says the cost of Walker's proposal is $73.5 million more than
when he released it in February.
Of that, $52 million is directly related to the changes Walker
The total additional funding Walker had provided in his budget
was about $664 million. The new cost is projected to be $734
million over two years.
Walker's Medicaid plan is the centerpiece of his health care
The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee has yet to vote on the
plan. It is expected to take action on in within the next three
Walker signs layoff
MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker on Friday
signed into law a bill creating a program that gives employers
an alternative to laying off employees when work slows.
Under the program, instead of laying off a few workers, hours
for groups of employees would be reduced. Those affected could
collect unemployment, paid for by the federal government. The
employer would also be required to maintain retirement plans and
health insurance coverage.
The program will be in effect by the end of the year. It is
expected to save the state's unemployment reserve fund nearly $5
million a year. The measure passed the Assembly on a bipartisan
74-22 vote and cleared the Republican-controlled Senate on a
party line 18-15 vote.
"Instead of getting a pink slip during an economic downturn,
workers now have an opportunity to stay on the job and receive
unemployment benefits for the hours they lose," Walker said in a
Senate Democrats objected after Republicans rejected an
amendment, supported by unions and business groups on a state
advisory council, to add a protection in the work-share program
for labor agreements.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ed Brooks, R-Reedsburg, and Sen.
Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee.
Also Friday, Walker signed a bill designed to help one of the
state's most popular tourist destinations, the military-style
amphibious vehicle known as the Wisconsin Duck.
The bill allows the vehicles in Wisconsin Dells to travel up to
five miles on land instead of just two before they would have to
be registered as a vehicle and not a boat.
The vehicles have wheels and can operate on land but are shaped
more like a boat and also float on water. They can carry up to
10 passengers and have been popular with sightseeing tourists
"I'm pleased to sign a bill which modernizes the law for a part
of Wisconsin's tourism industry," Walker said in a statement.
The measure cleared both the Senate and Assembly on voice votes
with no opposition. It was sponsored by Sen. Luther Olsen,
R-Ripon, and Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan.