Nearly two weeks late, state GOP still divided on budget


MADISON- Nearly two weeks have passed since the new financial year began, and state Republicans still can’t reach an agreement on the budget. An hour-long meeting on Wednesday produced no results, and lawmakers remain at an impasse. Governor Walker and the Senate are standing firm, and are refusing and tax or fee increases to fix the state’s transportation budget. Assembly Speaker Vos and his colleagues appear intent on raising fees to avoid borrowing. Vos also rejected Walker’s proposal to lower borrowing for this year so that the budget could be passed.

No matter the level of state borrowing, levels of dysfunction in Madison are high.

Jason Stein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

The Assembly’s top GOP leader Wednesday called on Senate colleagues to recognize the “reality” of the budget standoff as another meeting produced no progress and a solution to the stalemate seemed as far away as ever.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said that he had accepted that he would not reach his goal of approving new taxes or fees to support state highway projects but that Senate leaders needed to accept there would be no new state borrowing for roads, either.

Assembly Republicans oppose taking out more state loans for highway projects without additional sources of money to pay them back. Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Republicans support some borrowing.

“I would prefer that we accept both of each other’s realities. I have accepted the reality that they don’t want to raise revenues. They need to accept the reality that we’re not going to borrow and spend,” Vos said.

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said GOP senators were unlikely to accept no new borrowing for roads because of the large number of delays that would create for state projects.

“If that’s where the speaker is coming from, then the short answer is no,” Myranda Tanck said.

A spokesman for Walker had no immediate comment.

The fresh evidence of a budget stalemate came after a roughly hourlong private meeting Wednesday between Vos, Fitzgerald and Walker at the Capitol. The lack of progress likely means yet another week in which the Legislature’s budget committee will not meet or take up any aspect of the state’s tax-and-spending plan.

Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.