Senate opens debate on Wisconsin budget

Senate opens debate on Wisconsin budget

Senate opens debate on Wisconsin budget

The vetoes promised by Governor Scott Walker include moving up a complete repeal of the state's prevailing wage law from next fall to when the budget is signed, making changes to a provision that restricts when school districts can hold referenda votes, and removing language that would have expanded the authority of the controversial Public Financing Authority.

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

Four Democrats and two Republicans broke with the majorities of their parties in the Wisconsin Assembly vote over a $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn Technology Group.

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

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald notified lawmakers on Tuesday night that the Senate would be in session Friday to vote on the budget.

Three Senate Republicans withholding their support for the state budget have developed a detailed list of demands, including expanding the state's voucher school program and prohibiting the University of Wisconsin System from spending money on cultural training.

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Now, Sens. Steve Nass, Duey Stroebel and Chris Kapenga are demanding a number of major last-minute changes. Spending continued at current levels during the impasse.

The budget is 11 weeks overdue and three GOP senators were threatening to vote against it, but it finally passed after some last minute promises and a phone call from Walker, who is now overseas on a trade mission.

"We are not going to allow individual senators to rewrite the budget", Vos said. The budget would repeal it on September 1, 2018. Lena Taylor, of Milwaukee, a member of the Legislature's budget committee.

The Assembly floor debate began at noon and dragged on until 11 p.m. Democrats focused their criticism on tax cuts benefiting the wealthy rather than reducing taxes for the working poor, saying Republicans had "rigged" the budget against the middle class.

Walker, who is gearing up to run for a third term next year, also defended the proposed budget plan, saying it fulfills his goals of increasing funding for K-12 schools without increasing property taxes.

Republicans who joined Democrats in voting against it were Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, and Todd Novak, of Dodgeville.

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