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Most Wisconsinites Support Continued Stewardship Land Purchases, According To New Poll

Walker's Budget Proposal Would Freeze New Purchases For 13 Years

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (CC-BY-NC)

A poll shows wide support for continuing the state Department of Natural Resources’ stewardship land preservation program in Wisconsin, despite changes in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal that would freeze stewardship purchases for 13 years.

The governor says state taxpayers are paying too much in debt repayments for stewardship bonds and its time for the program to stop adding land. But a new Nature Conservancy-commissioned poll of 600 Wisconsin residents shows majorities favor more land preservation.

Pollster Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies said the stewardship program has bipartisan support, even during tight budget times.

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“It’s really overwhelming across the board. It’s 76 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of independents and virtually all Democrats,” Weigel said.

Gov. Walker’s office has argued that debt payments for the stewardship program are $1.6 million a week, and two-thirds of the DNR’s share of state general purpose revenue goes for the agency’s debt service.