The Assembly tonight passed the state budget 57-39, with five Republicans joining all Dems in opposing it.
It now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future as Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he doesn’t have the 17 votes he needs to pass it and three Senate Republicans circulate a list of demanded changes.
The Assembly vote came after nearly 11 hours of debate, the rejection of 19 Dem amendments and the adoption of a GOP amendment that makes what the authors call “technical” changes, including deleting a provision requiring DOT to install a railroad gate crossing in Winnebago County.
But in the end, Reps. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha; Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls; Bob Gannon, R-West Bend; Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake; and Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, all voted against the budget.
Speaking on the floor prior to passage, Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said the bill left “so many holes in the state,” while bemoaning the chamber’s refusal to take up any of the proposed Dem amendments.
“You have rigged the system so poorly and slanted it against the working people in the state,” Barca told his Republican colleagues.
But Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, countered the bill was a “really, really good budget for Wisconsin,” touting the investment it would make in K-12 education, the extended UW System tuition freeze and the taxes that would be eliminated, among other things. Still, he noted legislators “should have done more” in the transportation budget.
And he again emphasized the chamber won’t be back next week to take further action on the budget.
Meanwhile, the Senate is scheduled to be on the floor Friday morning to vote on the budget. But GOP state Sens. Chris Kapenga, of Delafield; Steve Nass, of Whitewater; and Duey Stroebel, of Saukville, laid out a list of demands to win their support of the budget, including raising the income limit for the statewide school choice program and banning UW from spending money on diversity, sensitivity and cultural fluency training.