Monday, June 27, 2011

Walker Revokes In-state Tuition For Undocumented Students Attending Universities And Colleges In Wisconsin

Governor Scott Walker

Undocumented students to pay higher tuition, despite living and paying state taxes along with parents in Wisconsin.

By H. Nelson Goodson
June 27, 2011

Ashwaubenon - On Sunday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) signed his two-year 2011-2013 budget, which included ending in-state tuition for undocumented students attending public universities and colleges. In-state tuition for undocumented students was approved two years ago by former Governor Jim Doyle (D) after the Hispanic community struggled for 10 years to pass it.
The State Journal (SJ) reported that about 100 undocument students had applied for in-state tuition at 13-four year University of Wisconsin System public universities in 2010-2011. In 2009-2010, SJ data showed that 70 undocumented students had applied for in-state tuition to attend UW universities. UW-Milwaukee qualified 33 students in 2009-2010 and 55 in the 2010-2011 academic year. Other UW campuses had fewer applicants.
In Wisconsin, undergraduate sudents residing in the state pay more than $8,900 per year to attend UW compared to non-residents that pay more than $24,200 per year. The resident undergraduate pays 60 percent of the tuition and the state pays the other 40 percent of the cost, according to the SJ data.
With Wisconsin ending in-state tuition for undocumented students, only 11 states remain in the U.S. that offer in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Undocumented students and their parents residing in Wisconsin for years, whether illegally in the U.S. do contribute economically and do pay their fair share of state taxes, including sale taxes and other taxes as well. But, they don't get reimbursed at the end of the year.
The budget takes effect on July 1st. Walker's $66 billion two-year budget tries to balance and cap a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes. The budget cuts $800 million in public school aid, reduces $250 million from the University of Wisconsin System, cuts 30% or $72 million of aid to technical colleges and limits how much local governments and school districts can raise property taxes. A projected $1.6 billion in reduction of revenues for both local governments and school districts.
Walker signed his two-year budget at the Fox Valley Metal-Tech's Plant in Ashwaubenon near Greenbay. More than 200 protestors were outside the company with signs calling Walker, "You dirty rat" and "Shame, shame."
The Greenbay Press Gazette reported that according to Walker's budget, property taxes on owners of median-valued homes are projected to increase just $54 over two years.
  • Income tax credits for poor families with two or more children would be reduced by $56 million over two years, a move Democrats described as a tax increase.
  • Household income levels to qualify for a homestead tax credit for poor home owners and renters would be frozen, saving the state more than $13 million over two years.
  • Creates a new capital gains tax deferral for investments in Wisconsin-based companies worth $36 million over two years.
  • Creates a new tax credit for manufacturers and agricultural businesses worth about $129 million a year once fully phased in starting in 2016.
  • Loosens taxes charged to multistate corporations, a break to them worth more than $46 million over two years.
  • Cuts $500 million from Medicaid through a variety of reforms including increasing co-pays and deductibles, but not by reducing benefits across the board or cutting provider reimbursement rates.
  • Cuts aid to local governments by $76 million.
  • Eliminates 1,032 state positions, most of which have been vacant for more than a year.
  • Provides $225 million to rebuild the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee.
  • Provides $195 million to continue reconstruction of Interstate 94 between Milwaukee and Kenosha.
  • Closes the Ethan Allen School, a detention facility for boys, and moves inmates to Lincoln Hills School in Lincoln County.
  • Closes the Southern Oaks Girls School, a detention facility for girls, and move the inmates to Copper Lake School at Lincoln Hills, the Greenbay Press Gazette reported.
Walker also vetoed 50 items, including ending pay for Milwaukee Police Officers who are fired, while they appeal their cases. The bondsmen provision was also killed by Governor Walker who said, these items didn't belong in the budget.
Governor Walker is facing a recall for ending collective bargaining and drastically cutting public education funding, once he completes one year in office.

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