People demand state lawmakers take action on climate change

Local News

MENOMONIE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – People are demanding lawmakers take action on climate change in the next state budget. First News at Nine’s Max Cotton explains how some rallied outside today’s joint finance committee meeting in Menomonie.

Eau Claire City Councilman Jeremy Gragert celebrated Earth Day at the Menomonie rally demanding state legislators take action on climate change.

“The urgency really kind of ratchets up even more every year, you know, especially as we’re seeing, you know, the climate changing and we’re seeing more unpredictable, you know, weather and more flooding or more severe weather,” said Gragert.

He and others at the rally want to see the next biennial state budget act on Governor Evers’ climate task force’s recommendations.

They include increasing funding for municipal flood control, wetland restoration programs and supporting farmer-led watershed groups.

State Senator Jeff Smith sits on the task force.

Smith said, “Not only is clean and obviously the ethical thing to do but also for our tourism industry, for our farmers to be able to prosper. This is about the future of our economy.”

Not everyone thinks the state should spend a lot of money.

Samuel Schneider is a La Crosse small business owner. He’s concerned increased spending could lead to higher taxes.

“One of the things that this budget allows for is the raising of local municipal taxes and on top of that you have the state sales and on top of that the state property tax as well. So when all of those things kind of combine, it’s like, you know, you don’t see it all in one place but you’re going to feel it down the road,” said Schneider.

He says government must do some things but we don’t need everything.

Schneider said, “There are some good projects that are being funded but there also are billions of dollars going for what’s called, ‘taj mahal projects,’ which are just big government projects that we don’t necessarily need but it’s like, ‘oh, look at this new shiny building that we want.'”

The final state budget will be passed this summer.

In Menonomie, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.

Gragert says he’d also like to see more funding for local transit.

Former Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson helped start earth day nationally by sponsoring the legislation creating it.

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