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Panel approves Walker’s drunken driving spending cut

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s budget-writing committee has approved cutting $731,000 in grant funding to treat drunken drivers as Gov. Scott Walker proposed.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected Democrats’ attempts to keep the funding in place. Instead, the panel went along with Walker’s plan that would have money for the program come out of $8.7 million that already goes to other mental health and substance abuse community services.

Democrats argue the drunken driving intervention program is successful and should not be put in jeopardy. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the program saved taxpayers $1.2 million in jail costs in Waukesha County alone.

Republicans say they also support the program, and if it can’t be adequately funded the Department of Health Services can come back and ask for more money.

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