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Joint Finance Committee takes up UW tuition freeze, transportation deficit

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Another busy day is ahead for the lawmakers who are re-working the proposed new state budget.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee goes back to work at 10 a.m. Thursday, to tackle several major points of contention in Governor Scott Walker’s two-year spending package.

The panel is scheduled to decide how to eliminate an estimated $63.5 million deficit in Wisconsin’s transportation fund.

Earlier, the panel said to no to adding two State Patrol safety investigators and inspectors – and it reduced funds to ease traffic congestion. The committee delayed the tougher decisions, like reducing state road aid to local governments, and pushing back repairs on Milwaukee area freeways.

Also Thursday, the finance panel will consider freezing tuition at UW schools, after millions in campus reserves were recently disclosed.

The committee will also consider paying for a plan to take DNA samples from those arrested for major crimes, instead of just those convicted.

Some panel members have already talked about dropping a provision that would let rent to own companies withhold certain details about contracts until after the consumers sign them. That’s part of a series of reductions in consumer protections for rent to own customers.