Senate opens debate on Wisconsin budget

Senate opens debate on Wisconsin budget

Senate opens debate on Wisconsin budget

If all Senate Democrats vote against the budget, Fitzgerald would need 17 Republican senators to vote for it.

Details of what was agreed to will be released after the Senate gives final approval to the budget later Friday night, said Republican Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, told the Wisconsin State Journal he wants to see what he described as cost-saving changes to Wisconsin DOT operations added to the budget.

As the state Assembly neared a vote on the state's overdue budget, Speaker Robin Vos dug in against a handful of Senate Republicans who can block its passage in that chamber, saying he won't acquiesce to "wholesale" budget changes at the last minute. Wisconsin is one of only two states with a July 1 deadline that still doesn't have a budget enacted. Those issues include a repeal of the state's prevailing wage law, and a mandate limiting the ability of school districts to conduct referendums to raise funds.

The Wisconsin Senate is began debating the proposed state budget today.

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. He has not said whether he will use his powerful partial veto pen on the bill.

Walker talked about the budget Wednesday in a conference call from South Korea where he is on a trade mission. Walker also said he would support finding more savings at the Department of Transportation to win votes for the budget.

State Sen. David Craig, R-Town of Vernon, was the lone senator to vote against the budget bill, with Nass, Kapenga and Stroebel throwing their support behind the proposal. Without the backing of at least one of the three holdout senators the budget would not have passed Friday. The $76 billion spending plan goes to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. Numerous Democratic amendments were rejected Friday.

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. Democrats are united against it.

"It's shameful, this budget", said Democratic Sen. "There's no other way to put it". They've also criticized it for lacking a long-term funding solution for road projects thus further delaying work around the state and borrowing another $400 million.

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