State budget's future in Senate unclear

17 September, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Randy Kelley
  • Wisconsin General Assembly Gives Green Light To Foxconn Deal

Democrats are beginning their attack on the budget focusing on a proposal to eliminate the prevailing wage, a move opposed by construction unions.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he wants to vote on the budget on Friday but doesn't have the votes.

The budget up for debate largely mirrors what Walker introduced in February and comes before he runs for re-election next year.

The Assembly passed the budget 57-39 Wednesday evening after 11 hours of debate.

A previous version of the bill already passed the chamber but must be re-passed with recent changes added by the state Senate and the Legislature's budget panel. Assembly Republicans made minor technical changes to the budget but didn't address any of the Senate Republican demands. Democrats are united against it.

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

Democrats blasted the budget as overdue and falling short of what was required to help the state's public schools and working families.

They say Foxconn offers a once-in-a-generation chance to create thousands of jobs and transform the state's tech and manufacturing sectors.

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"It's shameful, this budget", said Democratic Sen.

Republican Rep. John Nygren, co-chair of the Legislature's budget-writing committee, acknowledged the budget has taken longer than usual but funds the state's priorities.

Walker told reporters earlier Wednesday he would sign off on last-minute budget changes speeding up repeal of the prevailing wage. A spokesman for Sen. David Craig, R-Big Bend, has also said he's against the plan. They also decried what they described as Republicans' "failure of leadership" in their transportation budget, which is delaying some large highway expansion projects in southeast Wisconsin and cutting funding for highway resurfacing projects.

Walker said he's meeting with a slew of government and business leaders while in East Asia.

Foxconn has said it hopes to open the plant in 2020 with 3,000 workers.

"It's having a ripple effect in terms of drawing global attention to the state of Wisconsin", Walker said.

"This is wonderful news", said Rep. Tom Weatherston, R-Caledonia, who represents a district near the likely site for the plant. That facility - previously operated by Sharp, which Foxconn recently acquired - also makes LCD screens.

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