State Senate passes budget, heads to Gov. Walker

Scott Fitzgerald

It must pass both the Senate and Assembly in identical form before it goes to Walker for his signature. Prevailing wage requirements, meanwhile, lay out a minimum wage for workers on state construction projects.

Democrats are also blasting the budget for not coming up with a long-term funding solution for Wisconsin roads. The budget was supposed to be done by July 1 but GOP infighting over road funding has delayed the process.

Senate Republicans have enough votes to pass the state budget on Friday, a step that would end an 11-week delay and break a stalemate among the GOP that blocked a final vote, a member of the Legislature's budget committee told The Associated Press. Fitzgerald emerged from a closed-door meeting with senators on Wednesday afternoon saying he still doesn't have 17 votes but hoped to get there by Friday.

The Senate approved the budget on a vote of 19-14, with all Republicans except David Craig from the town of Vernon supporting it. Craig had objected to overall spending increases in the budget.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the Assembly will not return to act on the budget after it passes it Wednesday. Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he was OK with a couple changes being suggested by reluctant Republican senators in order to secure their support.

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.




Democrats have assailed the budget as a missed opportunity that benefits the wealthy since it would cut income taxes primarily paid by high earners but not reduce income taxes across the board or for poor working families as Walker had urged.

Walker also says he plans to veto $1 million for renovations in the state Capitol basement. The budget would have also allowed votes in November of odd-numbered years. Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke blasted the Senate holdouts on Twitter saying, "Let me be as clear as I can".

Sen. Rob Cowles declined to say Tuesday if he backs the budget.

Democrats don't have the votes to stop it.

The bill now heads to the governor, who is expected to act on it next week.

Republicans have touted the budget as full of good news, pointing to a almost 6 percent increase in funding for K-12 schools, a tuition freeze at UW campuses and a small property tax cut.

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