Wisconsin Senate passes state budget on to Evers
Republicans who control the Wisconsin Senate have narrowly approved the state budget.
The $81 billion two-year spending plan now goes to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who can sign the budget into law, veto it in its entirety or use his partial veto powers to revise it.
The Legislature's Republican-controlled finance committee eliminated a host of Evers' policy proposals from the budget, including a Medicaid expansion, legalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage. The committee inserted an income tax plan, gave schools $500 million rather than the $1.4 billion Evers had allocated and continued a University of Wisconsin System tuition freeze.
The Senate approved the budget 17-16 Wednesday. The GOP included last-minute provisions in the document to allow electric car manufacturer Tesla to open dealerships in Wisconsin to ensure Sen. Chris Kapenga's vote.
The Wisconsin senator who holds the key vote on the state budget says he will vote for the spending plan, clearing the way for passage.
The Senate is scheduled to take the final votes on the budget Wednesday. Approval would send the budget on to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
Republicans hold a 19-14 advantage in the Senate but a group of fiscal hawks in the GOP caucus don't support the budget. Sen. Chris Kapenga said Tuesday he's not sure if he'll vote for the spending plan. If Republicans lose Kapenga they'd fall one vote short of passage.
Republicans inserted language in the budget Tuesday to appease Kapenga. The provisions would allow electric car manufacturer Tesla to open dealerships in Wisconsin. Kapenga owns a business that sells Tesla parts and salvaged electric vehicles.
Kapenga said at a news conference minutes before the Senate was set to convene that he has decided to vote for the budget. He stressed that he rebuilds Teslas as a hobby and sells the leftover parts. He says his endeavors don't yield any profits.
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.