Wisconsin Senate set to take final state budget votes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate is set to take the final votes on the next state budget.

Assembly Republicans passed the $81 billion two-year spending plan late Tuesday evening. The Senate is expected to take it up Wednesday. Passage would send the document on to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who can sign it, veto it or use his partial veto powers to make changes.

Republicans hold a 19-14 advantage in the Senate but a group of fiscal hawks in the GOP caucus don't support the budget.
Sens. Steve Nass and Dave Craig have said they won't vote for the budget because it spends too much. Sen. Chris Kapenga says he's not sure if he'll vote for the spending plan. If Republicans lose Kapenga they'd fall one vote short of passage.


10:09 p.m.

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly has passed the state budget, with all Democrats against.

The two-year spending plan approved by the Assembly on Tuesday now heads to the Senate, which is scheduled to give it final approval on Wednesday. It then goes to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who isn't saying yet whether he will sign the plan or veto it. He can also make changes with his expansive partial veto power.

The Assembly approved some last-minute changes to the budget that will slightly reduce a property tax increase, allow electric-car manufacturer Tesla to open dealerships in the state and require the full Legislature to approve any new per-mile driven fee.

The Assembly passed it on a 60-39 vote. Three Republicans joined all 36 Democrats in voting no.


1:50 p.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is reviewing last-minute changes to the state budget proposal being debated by the Republican-controlled Assembly.

Republicans are urging the Democratic Evers to sign the budget, which made several significant changes to what Evers had proposed. Democrats in the Assembly said Tuesday the budget doesn't do enough to address issues facing the state like health care access, road funding and education.

But the Republican budget does increase funding for health care programs, K-12 schools and the University of Wisconsin and roads. But the funding does not go up as much as Evers proposed.

Evers' spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff says the governor is reviewing a Republican amendment that makes last-minute changes to the budget. But she isn't saying whether Evers plans to sign the plan with some vetoes or strike down the whole thing.


11:46 a.m.

Republicans are making changes to the state budget to slightly reduce property tax increases, allow Tesla to sell cars directly to customers in Wisconsin and to "veto proof" the spending plan before sending it to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The Assembly was voting on the budget Tuesday with the Senate to follow on Wednesday.

Republicans offered an amendment to make 31 changes to the budget just before the planned vote. One change is to remove the ability of the Legislature's budget committee to approve a new fee on miles driven. Instead, the full Legislature would have to approve it.

Republicans say the proposal is fiscally responsible and should be signed by Evers.

The governor has not said if he plans to sign the budget with some vetoes or strike down the entire plan.

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