Senate to vote on Wisconsin budget Friday

Ken Copeland
September 17, 2017

The Wisconsin Assembly sent a $3 billion incentive package for Taiwan-based Foxconn to Gov. Scott Walker this week, signing off on a deal to lure the electronics giant to the state with the biggest subsidy to a foreign company in USA history.

The Republican-controlled Assembly was expected to pass the measure Thursday afternoon, sending it to Gov. Scott Walker.

It was due on July 1, but squabbling among Republicans caused the delay.

Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, and Steven Nass, R-Whitewater, reached a deal with Walker where the Walker will strike a series of provisions in the bill.

Among them: raise the income eligibility limit for the statewide voucher program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level; block the UW System from spending $4 million on "cultural fluency" training for students and faculty; require a local referendum to impose a wheel tax; and move up the repeal of the state's prevailing wage from September 2018 to January 1.

The voucher program provides subsidizes private school tuition.

Walker told reporters earlier Wednesday he would sign off on last-minute budget changes speeding up repeal of the prevailing wage.

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Right now, Governor Scott Walker is on a trade mission in Japan and South Korea and he says he's met with a number of companies looking to invest in Wisconsin. Five GOP lawmakers opposed the bill, along with every Democratic Assembly member. Assembly Republicans made minor technical changes to the budget but didn't address any of the Senate Republican demands.

"I'm still confident we'll have a budget by the end of the summer", Walker said.

Democrats have assailed the budget as a missed opportunity that benefits the wealthy since it would cut income taxes primarily paid by high earners but not reduce income taxes across the board or for poor working families as Walker had urged.

The budget passed 19-14 after reports Thursday said the Senate did not have enough support from the GOP.

"We don't even know if the Senate can pass this budget, it's so bad", Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca said.

"All of us can walk away saying if the Legislature does nothing else this session we have accomplished our most important task", Vos said.

The $76 billion spending plan includes investment to K-12 schools, eliminates several taxes and keeps property taxes low, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said in a statement.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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