Deficit forum sparks debate on priorities

    A forum on state and national deficits in Milwaukee this week sparked debate on spending priorities and the state budget.
    The forum "Debt and Deficit Reduction: Time for Action” at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday featured national and state experts.
    Louis Mercer, a UWM teaching assistant and an officer in the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association, asked: "How does the slash-and-burn state budget help my students?"
    Mercer said "students paying higher tuition in the name of austerity" is one of his concerns.
    One of the panelists, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute president George Lightbourn, said tuition increases have been held down and that college students would benefit from a more robust private sector helped by the budget. However, Lightbourn, a former Department of Administration secretary, also hinted that Wisconsin’s two-year budget may be out whack because current growth is lower than projections used for the spending plan.
    Jack Norman of the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future said talk about the deficit had been “hijacked” by conservatives, and the revenue side of the equation needs to be emphasized.
    Attendees also heard from Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist for the Concord Coalition, and Alan Viard, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
    Hear the forum, which was broadcast on WUWM’s “Lake Effect'” by clicking here.

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