From an article by Wayne Nelson in BusinessNorth:
The legislature and Gov. James Doyle used federal stimulus money to offset one-third of the budget shortfall, he said. The remaining deficit was offset with spending cuts and new taxes.
“Without the federal stimulus money, we would have had to shut down the (UW) campuses,” he said.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on lawmakers in both states to help create private sector jobs, and reduce unemployment. In Wisconsin, the emerging priorities are stabilizing the state’s manufacturing sector and jumpstarting the state’s entry into the green energy economy.
On Jan. 6, Governor Doyle introduced his green energy development plan, the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act, to the Legislature. The bill embodies recommendations by the Global Warming Task Force that Doyle created in 2007 to find ways to combat predicted climate change in Wisconsin, including drought, damage to forests and wetlands, and already historically low Lake Michigan water levels.
“This bill will ensure Wisconsin is on the leading edge in capturing green jobs,” said state Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior.
It calls for weaning the state of its dependence on fossil fuels by increasing the use of renewable fuels, and even invites a debate over potential new nuclear power development.
The bill would mandate that 25 percent of energy be generated from renewable sources – including wind, solar and biomass – by 2025. The state’s current goal is 10 percent by 2015, and at the end of 2008, Wisconsin was just less than 5 percent.