Governor Walker issues 99 partial vetoes to state budget
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker issued 99 partial vetoes of the $76 billion state budget on Wednesday, including a provision that would have allowed low-spending school districts to raise more money from property taxes. He defended his decision on his twitter account.
Walker issued the vetoes a day before he planned to sign the budget into law. Many of the vetoes, described in a 25-page letter, were technical, but some like eliminating the additional spending authority for schools that some Republican lawmakers had fought hard to include, were substantive.
Walker followed through on his promise to reluctant Republican senators last week to make immediately repeal the requirement that construction workers on state jobs be paid a prevailing wage, instead of having it take effect in a year.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he talked with Walker about his veto plans, but declined to reveal details calling those "private conversations." Vos also said it was "way too early" to say whether the Assembly would attempt any override votes.
The Republican-controlled Legislature hasn't attempted any veto overrides since Walker took office in 2011.
The budget passed the Republican-controlled Legislature on Friday, 11-weeks after the July 1 due date. The Sept. 21 signature by Walker will make it the latest budget since 2007 when the Legislature was under split control. That year then-Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle signed it on Oct. 26.
The budget this year was delayed due to inter-party fighting among Republicans who couldn't agree on several key issues, including how to fix a $1 billion transportation funding gap. Ultimately they decided to largely follow Walker's plan to borrow more and delay projects.
Vos said that while the process of passing the budget was frustrating, the end product is a good one. The budget sends $639 million more to K-12 schools, an increase of nearly 6 percent, while freezing tuition across University of Wisconsin campuses, cutting taxes on smaller businesses and slightly reducing property taxes.
It would also raise fees on electric and hybrid car owners to help pay for road construction projects, eliminate the alternative minimum tax which primarily benefits the wealthy and expand enrollment in the private school voucher program.
Democrats have assailed the budget as not doing enough to help schools or the middle class.