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Republican Lawmakers Unhappy With Gov. Walker's Recycling Plan


MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - Some of Scott Walker’s own Republicans are speaking out against the governor’s plan to end mandatory recycling for communities – and the state aid that goes with it.

Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah and fellow Senate Republican Rob Cowles of Green Bay both call it a big mistake and, “We had no idea it was coming.”

They said the funding cut would not reduce the state’s budget deficit, because the money would go into a new economic development fund instead. Ellis and Cowles said 400,000 tons of recyclables have been kept out of landfills since 1994.

Assembly Republican finance chair Robin Vos says he’d like to see the recycling subsidies continue, but they might have to be reduced. And Assembly Republican John Nygren of Marinette says local officials in his district believe Walker’s going too far.

Ann Coakley of the state DNR says she has not heard of any communities talking about dropping their recycling programs. She says many are either looking to make their programs more efficient – or to make residents pay higher fees to recycle.

Walker has said the markets for recycled items have grown to the point in which state subsidies are no longer necessary. But Ellis doesn’t agree. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says the governor will work with legislative Republicans on possible changes to his budget as long as, “fiscal discipline” remains intact.