MADISON- Nearly three weeks late on passing the state budget, Governor Walker has offered up $200 million to help pay for transportation funding. The money was supposed to go toward tax cuts, but Walker was willing to give up his tax cuts to bring the Assembly back into budget talks. For weeks the legislature has been fighting over the budget, with the Assembly wanting to raise revenues and avoid borrowing, and with the Governor and the Senate wanting to borrow and avoid raising taxes. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that Walker’s proposal, which would lower the amount of borrowing needed to pay for transportation, was a good step forward.
However, just as the Assembly is being brought back into the fold, the Senate has retreated from the potential deal. Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald is unsure if members of his caucus support the deal. It appears that Wisconsin’s budget impasse will continue for the near future.
Molly Beck at the Wisconsin State Journal reports:
Gov. Scott Walker offered a change to his budget plan this week to Republican leaders feuding over how to pay for road projects in an effort to break a 20-day impasse, but it’s unclear if it’s enough to get both houses back to the negotiating table.
“There’s no deal yet. That’s for sure,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Thursday after he relayed to his members the governor’s offer to use $200 million slated for tax cuts for road projects instead, drawing down bonding levels.
But Walker’s offer did win support from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Assembly Republicans, who in letters to Walker and Senate Republicans on Thursday said they accepted the governor’s proposal and want to resume work on the 2017-19 state budget as early as next week.
“The proposal that you outlined yesterday is a positive step forward in our desire to find a long-term solution and we believe the leadership that you have displayed has bridged the gap between our two houses,” Assembly Republicans wrote Thursday.
Walker’s offer came as lawmakers Thursday wondered if a possible state incentive package for technology giant Foxconn would affect budget deliberations.
Assembly Republicans have been fiercely against Walker’s and Senate Republicans’ proposals to borrow millions in the 2017-19 state budget without increasing revenue sources to pay for the projects. Senate Republicans put forward their own budget proposal this week that included $712 million in new bonding for roads.
But Senate Republicans aren’t yet ready to say they’re on board. Fitzgerald told reporters he’s still not clear what the details are of Walker’s offer, and that Vos also this week floated the idea of taxing electric vehicles to bring in new revenue for road projects — an idea that should be discussed further.
Walker told reporters in Sturtevant on Thursday that he hopes Senate Republicans will come back with a “reasonable adjustment” to the offer, according to audio provided by Walker’s office.
Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal.