State Assembly passes biennium budget

State Assembly passes biennium budget

After a dramatic showdown within the Republican majority in the state Senate, Wisconsin's $76 billion budget is finally on its way to the governor's desk more than two months late. Both are sought by Republican senators who say they're not ready to pass the budget.

The senators say Walker also plans to veto the budget to allow school districts to conduct referendum votes only on regularly scheduled primary and general election days.

"We don't even know if the Senate can pass this budget, it's so bad", Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca said.

Senate Republicans, who have yet to take up the budget, are expected to meet Wednesday to discuss it. Fitzgerald said Tuesday that he hopes the meeting will produce agreement among his members on changes to the budget that can be sent to the Assembly, in the form of an amendment, before it votes on it.

The massive bill, which the Assembly passed Wednesday, dictates spending for K-12 schools, Medicaid, the University of Wisconsin and the rest of state government.

It was due on July 1, but squabbling among Republicans caused the delay.

Among them: raise the income eligibility limit for the statewide voucher program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level; block the UW System from spending $4 million on "cultural fluency" training for students and faculty; require a local referendum to impose a wheel tax; and move up the repeal of the state's prevailing wage from September 2018 to January 1.

Vos threatened Thursday that his chamber would not consider the budget again if the Senate made changes to it.

"I'm still confident we'll have a budget by the end of the summer", Walker said. Walker told reporters on Wednesday he would be open to making changes to the budget to appease the Republican holdouts, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he would not vote on a new version of the plan.

High cost transportation aid is in that budget. As it's now written in the budget, that repeal would take effect in September 2018.

Rep. Jason Fields, D-Milwaukee, changed his vote to support the deal, saying he had talked to Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel and others about the opportunities Foxconn would create for African Americans.

"This budget helps thousands of families throughout our state", Nygren said on the Assembly floor.

Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, said in a statement the budget is "responsible and accountable to Wisconsin families".

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