GOP cannot agree on budget; Senate threatens to pass its own plan

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Wisconsin state capitol, where budget talks are occurring
Wisconsin state capitol, where budget talks are occurring

MADISON- Republican lawmakers are intensely divided in the ongoing budget talks. Disagreements have grown stronger over issues like transportation funding and education spending, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) threatened that the Senate may put together its own budget plan without the Assembly.

Patrick Marley and Jason Stein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report:

State budget talks stalled Monday, prompting the Senate’s top leader to warn his house might break off discussions with the Assembly and pass its own financial plan instead.

Republicans who control the Legislature had hoped to have the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee meet Tuesday but were unable to reach enough consensus to take votes. It remains unclear if the panel will meet later in the week.

“I’m hoping this is just a little bump in the road that we’re not meeting (on Tuesday),” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) told reporters. “If they don’t meet Thursday, then we’re in a rougher spot than I thought we were.”

GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers have struggled to come to terms on the state budget in recent weeks.Underlining their challenges, an Assembly leader said Monday that he’s prepared to be “pretty stubborn” about getting changes to Walker’s bill to help rural school districts.

Fitzgerald said that if the budget committee is unable to meet this week, Senate Republicans may put together their own tax and spending plan without the help of the Assembly. Fitzgerald said he hoped to avoid the scenario, which could mean even bigger delays as the Senate and Assembly will still have to come to terms eventually.

Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.