State Senate passes budget, heads to Gov. Walker


If the Senate passes the budget without any changes, it will go to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

The bill passed 64-31, with all but two Republicans voting for the bill and being joined by Democratic Reps.

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. The budget would have also allowed votes in November of odd-numbered years.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos declared their demands a "ransom note" and refused to consider amending the budget to make the changes.

Right now, Governor Scott Walker is on a trade mission in Japan and South Korea and he says he's met with a number of companies looking to invest in Wisconsin.

Walker reached a deal with three holdout Republicans to win their support for the deal.

Now, Sens. Steve Nass, Duey Stroebel and Chris Kapenga are demanding a number of major last-minute changes.

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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.

"I'm still confident we'll have a budget by the end of the summer", Walker said.

But Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca says the budget is rigged against working families and doesn't come up with a long-term funding solution for roads. As it's now written in the budget, that repeal would take effect in September 2018. Lena Taylor, of Milwaukee, a member of the Legislature's budget committee. He is praising the plan that passed the Senate Friday night for sending $639 million more to K-12 schools while also slightly reducing property taxes.

Vos said he was disappointed with the road funding - he had pushed for raising more revenue by raising the gas tax or raising vehicle registration fees rather than borrowing more money - but pledged that the Assembly would not return to the floor next week to adopt any Senate changes.

Republican Reps. Scott Allen, Janel Brandtjen, Bob Gannon, Adam Jarchow and Joe Sanfelippo voted against the budget.

Foxconn issued an unsigned statement thanking Wisconsin, saying the incentives "will help us move forward with our plans to build the state-of-the-art advanced display manufacturing campus".