Wisconsin Republican legislators reach agreement on budget
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald said they have reached an agreement on the budget that the finance committee can have a final vote on.
It's not a done deal yet, but we do have new details for the first time in about a month.
We now know the Bucks Arena Plan will be taken out of the budget and become stand alone bill.
\"No I don't have the votes right now as we stand here... but I don't expect to have the votes. There's still a number of members specifically outside the finance committee that have talked to me about things they might want to see added or deleted from the budget,\" said Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R) Majority Leader.
Leaders from both parties acknowledge Democrats will be key in passing that bill.
\"Senator Fitzgerald said he still doesn't have the votes... so I don't know what kind of deal they've arranged,\" said Rep. Peter Barca (D) Minority Leader.
Also, the largest hang up to this point has been transportation funding.
The governor wanted to borrow more than a billion dollars to pay for roads.
Today we were told the plan will have $500 million in borrowing, with a chance to increase that ammount in certain situations.
It also would mean the current phase of the Zoo interchange project would stay on track, but the north leg of the project would be delayed.
Joint finance will take up transportation tomorrow, but it doesn't mean the budget is done.
Joint Finance member Rep. Chris Taylor held a press conference later in the day. She said the Republican's transportation bill is cutting at least 5,500 jobs.
\"They are kicking the can down the road,\" Taylor said.
Senator Jennifer Shilling released this statement on the proposed deal:
After retreating behind closed doors for the past five weeks, Republicans emerged today to announce nearly $500 million in cuts from needed road and bridge projects. This unprecedented cut threatens the safety and reliability of Wisconsin's transportation network and is estimated to cost the state more than 5,000 private sector jobs.
This latest self-inflicted budget crisis comes on the heels of new school funding projections that revealed more than half of all school districts in Wisconsin will see another cut in the upcoming school year. Democrats, parents and school advocates had warned of the potential fallout of underfunding Wisconsin's schools and urged Republican lawmakers to take additional measures to protect schools from another round of devastating cuts.
\"I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Republicans squandered the past five weeks coming up with a plan to eliminate 5,000 good-paying Wisconsin jobs rather than finding ways to restore the historic funding cuts to our local schools,\" said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). \"At some point, legislative Republicans will have to realize that what's best for Gov. Walker's presidential campaign isn't what's best for the families who call Wisconsin home.\"
\"Families and businesses across Wisconsin rely on a safe and reliable transportation network for more than just getting from point A to point B,\" Shilling added. \"For thousands of Wisconsin workers, this latest Republican cut is very real and very personal. My thoughts go out to those hardworking families who will lose their jobs as a result of this irresponsible and self-serving decision. With leadership like this, it's no wonder why Wisconsin is dead last in Midwest job creation, dead last in business start-ups and dead last in middle class growth.\"