Wisconsin's ability to purchase new land for natural areas and wildlife could be drastically reduced.
The Republican controlled Joint Finance Committee voted to cut funding for the Stewardship Program over the next two years. The program is used to purchase wetlands, river and lake property to preserve the public's access to natural areas.
The state was planning to spend $120 million over the next two years, but the Joint Finance Committee has reduced that to $25 million. Republicans say budget concerns mean the state needs to slow down its spending sprees on land.
Democrats, including Gov. Jim Doyle, say the Republicans are being shortsighted. The budget needs to be approved by the full legislature and the governor. Gov. Doyle says he doesn't expect to see the measure in the final budget.