Governor Walker is seemingly fearless when it comes to decisions that will enrage his critics on the left.

No wonder he’s so popular among conservatives.

Monica Davey of the New York Times reports.

Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Has a National Message

Gov. Scott Walker, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination, on Tuesday proposed a new spending plan for Wisconsin that relies on borrowing and spending cuts, including deep reductions to state universities, and steers clear of tax increases.

Mr. Walker called for drug testing for people applying for some public assistance; the merging of several state agencies and the elimination of 400 state jobs, some of which are vacant; and an end to a cap on students’ attending private schools with taxpayer-funded vouchers.

His proposal came as an answer to recent revenue estimates that suggested Wisconsin could fall $928 million short by mid-2017, but also as a mission statement for Republican voters beyond Wisconsin.

“Our plan will use common-sense reforms to create a government that is limited in scope and ultimately more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the public,” Mr. Walker told lawmakers and other officials in a speech in Madison, the capital.

Mr. Walker came to national prominence in 2011 largely because of his first statewide budget proposal, which relied on cuts to collective bargaining rights and increased health and pension costs for most public workers to help solve an expected budget gap. His latest proposal, which contemplates spending about $68 billion over two years starting this summer, quickly drew its share of critics, especially among those with ties to the state’s university system. But the address seemed muted compared with four years ago, when demonstrators could be heard screaming and pounding drums outside the legislative chamber as Mr. Walker spoke.

Mr. Walker’s proposal calls for cutting about $300 million, or 13 percent, in state funds from the University of Wisconsin System, which includes 13 four-year universities and enrolls some 180,000 students. Mr. Walker’s plan would also take the unusual step of removing the university system from direct state control to a “quasi-governmental” authority that could act autonomously on issues of personnel, procurement, capital projects and tuition.