Fitzgerald, Vos continue transpo disagreement as state nears two weeks without new budget

WisDOT photo.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said yesterday Assembly Speaker Robin Vos needs to move past his push to find new revenues for the transportation fund.

Vos, R-Rochester, said he has, and urged his Senate GOP counterparts to accept what that would mean for the transportation budget.

“The Assembly has moved to accept the fact we’re not going to have new revenue,” Vos told WisPolitics.com in a phone interview. “Now the Senate has to move to accept the fact we’re not going to have new bonding, and then we’re done.”

The latest back-and-forth over the transportation budget comes as Senate Republicans caucused again today, while Vos met with his Finance team.

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The state is coming up on two weeks into the new fiscal year without a new budget.

The impasse lingers while Illinois’ new tax hikes go into effect to end its two-year budget stall. That could further complicate Republicans’ efforts to finalize a budget after the Legislative Fiscal Bureau today notified lawmakers it would result in a $51 million hit to the state’s bottom line over the next two years.

Fitzgerald said after caucus today his members are working on a budget that would include the lowest overall bonding number in “many years” and would borrow less than the $750 million for roads that he’s previously targeted.

To do that, Fitzgerald said his caucus is reviewing projects both in the transportation and capital budgets to determine if they’re needed. The caucus is also taking a closer look at proposed maintenance projects.

“What I’m trying to do is establish what the Senate caucus position is, and I think we’re very close to that,” said Fitzgerald, who declined to offer a number for overall borrowing.

He also continued to argue new revenues are not needed for the transportation fund despite repeated calls from Vos to only borrow more if the state can find additional dollars to pay off the debt.

“He just keeps lobbing things out there, and they keep getting shot down,” Fitzgerald said of his counterpart.

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