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Wisconsin Assembly passes state budget in late night vote

Inside the Wisconsin Assembly
Inside the Wisconsin Assembly(WBAY Staff)
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 9:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The state Assembly has passed the state’s next two-year budget and sent it on to the state Senate.

The Assembly passed the spending plan on a 64-34 vote. The Senate is expected to take up the budget on Wednesday.

The centerpiece of the spending plan is a $3.3 billion income and property tax cut.

Whether Evers goes along with the budget when it reaches his desk is another question.

Republicans eliminated a host of the Democratic governor’s policy proposals from the document earlier this year and handed K-12 schools only $128 million in additional aid after Evers proposed giving them $1.6 billion.

The governor could use his veto powers to drastically rewrite the budget or kill entire plan.

UPDATE: The Wisconsin Assembly has voted and approved the state budget.

The budget passed by a vote of 64-34 after hours of debate, with the final vote happening after 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) issued this statement Tuesday night after the budget was approved:

“Responsible budgeting has continually led to budget surpluses, but with this gigantic surplus, we were able to do a once-in-a-generation tax cut for the majority of Wisconsinites. We’ve achieved 2/3 state funding for our K-12 schools and increased funding for special education and mental health by more than $100 million. The legislature guaranteed all districts will get a minimum of $781 per pupil if they taught in-person at least 50% of the time during the 2020-21 school year. Most districts will see much more than that, the average being $2,898 per pupil. We are investing more and borrowing far less than the governor on our local roads. This is the lowest amount of new bonding for transportation in over 20 years. Wisconsin Republicans continue to invest in high-quality healthcare that benefits all Wisconsin residents especially mothers, the elderly, those dealing with substance abuse, and children with developmental disabilities. Our budget ensures we have quality long-term care facilities and staff to care for our most vulnerable. My Republican colleagues and I are proud to have voted for a conservative budget that delivers on our promises. This budget is reasonable, responsible, and realistic – it’s good for all of Wisconsin.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)

Multiple area lawmakers also sounded off on the budget being passed, and issued these statements:

“The budget that was presented to the Assembly today was disrespectful to the people of Wisconsin. Republicans have touted their ‘historic investments in education,’ but the honest reality shows that this budget falls far short of that mark. The truth of the matter is that, with an immense amount of opportunity, and real possibilities to make transformational change in Wisconsin, the Republicans chose not to step up for working people and their families. Budgets serve the purpose in state governments to provide a values-based outline to the priorities of the biennium. The Republican proposed budget tells us that it is more important to the majority party to declare a win over the Governor than support teachers in classrooms, children with disabilities, economic development in the wake of a global pandemic and critical funding to public health measures. Not only does the Republican budget strip away tremendous progress towards major growth in our state, it lacks the forethought to plan for Wisconsin’s future. Where Governor Evers’ budget had a clear vision with lasting goals in the forefront, what we have after the Republican Joint Finance Committee cuts are opportunities left on the table. We came to the Assembly floor today to talk about what initiatives in this budget were true possibilities, and faced tabled amendment after tabled amendment. The people of this state know that we can invest in one another and in our future and at the same time, be responsible with taxpayer money. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and.”

Rep. Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay)

“This budget reflects the priorities of Wisconsinites. Republicans crafted a realistic, reasonable, and responsible budget and the product the Joint Finance Committee put forward was well worth the time and effort put into it. This budget delivers on keeping money in the pockets of Wisconsinites. I am hopeful the governor will isgn this budget for the sake of the taxpayers and Wisconsin’s students.”

Rep. David Steffen (R-Howard)

“As I said in my floor speech, if this budget was a Dickens’ novel it would be called a “Tale of Two Budgets or Cuts versus Kids.” Given the 4.4 billion state revenue surplus and the opportunities to receive an additional 1.6 billion in federal dollars via the full expansion of Medicaid, we literally could have had it all and then some. We could have funded much needed initiatives from infrastructure to healthcare to education and provided a tax cut for middle class families. The budget the Governor proposed allowed Wisconsin to invest in a litany of much needed initiatives but instead of making these investments, the Republicans put forth a budget that took on greater debt and made a shell game out of school funding. The GOP budget is 100% a revenge budget, invested not in the people of Wisconsin but in playing political games to try and stick it to the Governor. Republicans are so hell bent on preventing the Governor from having a “win”, but the problem with that attitude is that the Governor’s budget was not a “win” for the Governor, but a win for Wisconsin’s children, business, families, workers, schools. When you spend all our energy trying to find ways to kneecap the Governor, the collateral damage is everyday Wisconsinites. In short, Gov. Evers’ budget showed what was possible for WI - it would have addressed challenges, created opportunity, and transformed communities like Appleton, Menasha and Fox Crossing. The budget that passed squandered federal resources and wasted huge opportunities that would have benefited our state. While I wanted to vote yes on a budget that was both practical and visionary, I had to vote no on this budget because of the absolute deficit in money for classrooms and the amount of borrowing it had, in order to avoid spending. This budget was morally and fiscally deficient.”

Rep. Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton)

The Senate is expected to take up the budget Wednesday.

Whether Evers goes along with the budget when it reaches his desk is another question.

Republicans eliminated a host of the Democratic governor’s policy proposals from the document earlier this year and handed K-12 schools only $128 million in additional aid.

The governor could use his veto powers to drastically rewrite the budget or kill entire plan.

INITIAL REPORT: Wisconsin legislators are poised to take their final votes on the state’s next two-year budget this week and send it on to Gov. Tony Evers.

The Assembly has scheduled a floor vote for Tuesday.

Debate was still ongoing as of 8:30 p.m. and it was unclear when the chamber would vote.

The Senate is expected to take up the budget Wednesday.

Whether Evers goes along with the budget when it reaches his desk is another question.

Republicans eliminated a host of the Democratic governor’s policy proposals from the document earlier this year and handed K-12 schools only $128 million in additional aid.

The governor could use his veto powers to drastically rewrite the budget or kill entire plan.

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