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State Senate passes budget, heads to Gov. Walker

17 September 2017

The Wisconsin Senate has begun debating the state budget 11 weeks after the $76 billion spending plan was due. A group of Senate Republicans want to speed up repeal of the prevailing wage, block spending on University of Wisconsin System diversity training and expand the statewide voucher school program.

Republicans entered the day one vote short of the 17 they needed to pass the plan. The budget was supposed to be done by July 1 but GOP infighting over road funding has delayed the process.

Before the budget can make it to Gov. Scott Walker's desk, it must first pass the state Senate.

Assembly Democrats, who didn't have the votes to stop it, slammed the proposal September 14 as being unfairly rigged to benefit Foxconn at the expense of taxpayers. Assembly Republicans made minor technical changes to the budget but didn't address any of the Senate Republican demands.

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

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is defending the plan, saying that there is something for everyone to like in it, including tax cuts and more funding for K-12 public schools.

Democratic Assembly Leader Peter Barca notes that the budget up for a vote does not include an increase in a tax credit for poor working families that Gov. Scott Walker had proposed.

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The bill would exempt Foxconn from some state rules protecting wetlands and waterways, provisions that environmental groups say they'll challenge in court. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Tuesday he does not yet have the needed 17 votes to pas the budget.

The Republican governor was in South Korea on a trade mission at the time of the vote but pledged to sign the incentives package into law soon.

The Republican-controlled Assembly planned to vote Wednesday night.

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".

Democrats don't have the votes to stop it. He praised the plan that passed for sending $639 million more to K-12 schools while also slightly reducing property taxes.

State Senate passes budget, heads to Gov. Walker