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The Madison Club
— Three Senate Republicans are demanding a series of changes to the budget to win over their votes, including raising the income limit for the statewide school choice program and banning UW from spending money on diversity, sensitivity and cultural fluency training.
The three — Sens. Chris Kapenga, of Delafield; Steve Nass, of Whitewater; and Duey Stroebel, of Saukville — also want to move up the planned repeal of the prevailing wage on state projects to Jan. 1 rather than Sept. 1, 2018, and to delete language the Joint Finance Committee added to the budget that would pre-empt local regulations of quarries that produce material for road and construction work.
If they refuse to vote for the budget without the changes, it could halt passage in the GOP-run Senate. Sen. Dave Craig, R-Big Bend, is expected to be a no, and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, can only lose three members from his 20-13 majority and still pass the budget.
A Fitzgerald spokeswoman did not respond to a text or call last night.
— Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, was dismissive of the requested changes by the three conservative senators.
He again said the Assembly is not coming back to take up the budget after passing it last night, and knocked the trio for failing to “engage in the process,” but rather resorting to “holding out in the end.”
Assembly Republicans publicly backed moving the income limit for the statewide voucher program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level as the three Senate Republicans demanded. But Senate GOP leadership backed an increase to 220 percent, which is what Republicans inserted in the budget through the Joint Finance Committee.
Vos said Assembly Republicans were open to the provision on the list of demands seeking to move up the repeal of the prevailing wage. But Vos said he was told just adding that provision would not have brought any of the three to a yes.
“The deal expired,” he said.
Fitzgerald has said he was short of the needed votes to approve the budget, though he has not put a hard number on how many members he needed to win over.
Some have wondered if Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, would back the proposal. But he told WisPolitics.com he’s a yes, in part, because the structural deficit that would be produced by the budget would come in at $991 million for 2019-21, better than he had anticipated. Still, he plans to “seek the removal of as much policy as possible through the governor’s veto pen.”
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau noted yesterday the $991 million structural deficit projected for 2019-21 would be the second smallest since 1999-2001. There also was a projected surplus for 2013-15.
Other provisions on the three senator’s list of demands includes:
*reverting to the guv’s call to end an exemption to school property tax levies for energy efficiency projects. The budget JFC approved calls for a one-year moratorium on such projects.
*adding language from pending legislation that would a local wheel tax could only be imposed if approved via referendum.
*changing language on seeking to swap federal money for state funds on some highway projects to avoid some federal requirements.
Read the overview:
See the LFB memo on the general fund condition and the structural deficit:
— The Assembly late last night passed the state budget on a 57-39 vote, 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.
Republicans voting against the budget were: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.
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.
See the Assembly roll call vote:
See the adopted GOP budget amendment:
— The budget the Joint Finance Committee approved would meet Gov. Scott Walker’s demand that property tax bills sent in December 2018 would be lower than they were in 2014 — by $1.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects the property tax bill for a median-valued home would be $2,851 on bills sent this December and $2,830 on those that go out the following year.
The bill on a median-valued home in December 2014 was $2,831.
The guv has threatened to veto the budget unless it met his property tax goal.
See the LFB memo:
— The Assembly will be back on the floor this morning to take up the revised Foxconn bill, which the Senate passed on Tuesday.
While on the floor today, the Assembly will take up a series of joint resolutions, as well as the incentive package.
Follow today’s action in Quorum Call:
— DPI is defending its proposal to meet the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind.
Gov. Scott Walker yesterday sent a letter to DPI Superintendent Tony Evers, a possible 2018 opponent, urging him to submit a new proposal rather than the “bureaucratic proposal” the agency sent to his office. Walker declined to sign off on it.
DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said the final plan will be made public Monday.
“We are confident that the robust stakeholder process we used to develop our ESSA plan, which included the governor’s office, gave us a roadmap for success that respects the unique needs of Wisconsin’s communities,” McCarthy said.
Read the Walker letter:
TODAY: How will Foxconn and the state budget affect Walker’s re-election odds?
Find out today when a WisPolitics.com panel convenes in Milwaukee.
–James Wigderson, editor, RightWisconsin
–Paul Maslin, Democratic pollster with FM3 Research
–Mark Graul, Arena Strategy Group and Republican strategist
–Joe Zepecki, Zepecki Communications, top adviser to former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke
Time: Check in begins at 11:30 a.m. Program goes from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
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Wisconsin Hospital Association
Vos to GOP Senate budget holdouts: ‘Not going to be held hostage’
… Senate Republicans met privately Wednesday to discuss the budget but failed to reach agreement … [Leader] Fitzgerald said four or five GOP senators are holding out, citing objections that include the budget’s overall spending levels, changes to the statewide private school voucher program, transportation plan, or timeline for a proposed repeal of the state’s prevailing wage requirement. … Meanwhile, before the Assembly passed the state budget 57-39 [Dems + Allen, Brandtjen, Gannon, Jarchow, Sanfelippo] on Wednesday, Vos said he refused to acquiesce to “wholesale” budget changes at the last minute. “We’re not going to be held hostage to individuals who have some kind of a wish list,” Vos said. “The time for changes to the budget has expired.”
WI budget provision threatens sidewalks, bike paths, bike lanes
… would prohibit local jurisdictions and [WisDOT] from condemning property to “establish or extend” recreational trails, bicycle commuter paths, bike lanes or sidewalks. An incensed Madison Mayor [and possible guv contender] Paul Soglin blasted [JFC] GOP … “We happen to think it’s important that children going to school not get run over,” Soglin said. “But obviously we’ve got legislators –whether we’re talking about Ashland, Wisconsin, or Madison — who just don’t give a damn about issues of safety. … This is driven by bitter people who hate the rest of the state.” … City Engineer Rob Phillips said the measure allows a single property owner who doesn’t want to sell a right-of-way to kill several bike path projects, some in the works and some planned for the future. … [WI Bike Fed’s] Cieslewicz said several municipalities have sounded the alarm on the measure, the origin of which is a mystery.
Wisconsin lawmaker almost received railroad gate on his own road through budget
… But as questions began to circulate about the railroad crossing, Tusler’s fellow Assembly Republicans Wednesday removed the provision from the state budget in a floor amendment. … “It was an idea from some neighbors of mine — and obviously I was driving by there, too — that it was a safety hazard,” said Tusler, adding that he believed there had been accidents at the crossing at some point.
Walker objects to Wisconsin education plan
… Walker sent a letter Wednesday to [DPI Super] Evers stating his objection to the Every Student Succeeds Act plan that is due to the federal government on Monday. Evers is running for governor as a Democrat … says … that his proposal is “bureaucratic” and “does little to challenge the status quo for the benefit of Wisconsin’s students.” … urges Evers … to make Wisconsin a “reform leader” and submit a new plan. … [DPI’s] McCarthy says the state would respond to Walker’s concerns when it submits its plan to President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday.
Ryan: ‘Not in our nation’s interest’ to kick out Dreamers
… “I do believe that kicking these 800,000 kids out to countries that they have probably not been to since they were toddlers, countries that speak languages that they may not even know, is not in our nation’s interest,” Ryan said. … said President Trump was right to phase out the program … wanted the White House to provide time for a legislative fix because he didn’t want the program “to be rescinded on Day One and create chaos.” … said that [6-month] window should give time for Congress to act.
Ryan declines to say Republican tax plan won’t raise deficit
… in an AP Newsmaker interview … Asked twice whether he would insist the emerging tax plan won’t pile more billions onto the $20 trillion national debt, Ryan passed up the chance to affirm that commitment. … “We want pro-growth tax reform that will get the economy going, that will get people back to work, that will give middle-income taxpayers a tax cut and that will put American businesses in a better competitive playing field so that we keep American businesses in America. That is more important than anything else.” … On taxes, Trump himself added to the complications when he surprisingly declared, at a meeting with a bipartisan group of House members … “The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan. We are looking for the middle class and we are looking for jobs — jobs being the economy.” … long list of difficulties has led some analysts to conclude that Congress is likelier to settle on straightforward tax cuts than on full-blown reform — if it passes anything at all. But Ryan rejected that approach, telling the AP, “It’s not just narrow cuts in taxes that will do the job.” … After Schumer and Pelosi had dinner at the White House Wednesday night, they said they had reached [DACA, border/no wall] agreement with Trump … No Republicans were present at the dinner save the president, who was once a Democrat. “The problem here is we don’t have a clue what’s in the tax plan,” said Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va. “Now Trump is talking about doing bipartisan stuff with Chuck and Nancy on taxes. And I don’t want to open the door to that until we see what this tax plan looks like.”
Speculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe
… but people are beginning to chatter about whether this could be his final term leading House Republicans. … [If Ryan can deliver something on Obamacare, tax reform, infrastructure, The Wall,] “he could be Speaker for as long as he wants to be Speaker,” [HFC chair] Meadows told The Hill. But Meadows also pointed out why modern-day Speakers typically don’t stay in the job very long: “The patience of the American people is at an all-time low. They don’t give you a long time; they give you a short time. And so he’s had a short honeymoon to show results.” … Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong had no comment about his future plans, referring The Hill to the Speaker’s remarks Wednesday that he was focused on enacting tax reform. … A number of lawmakers express sympathy for Ryan, who has three school-age children and flies back to Janesville, Wis., every weekend. … They also acknowledge the difficulties Ryan faces because of Trump. … While some of Ryan’s usual critics have openly griped about the GOP’s inability to pass its agenda, they say Ryan doesn’t have to worry about a coup attempt. Rep. Walden: “It’s possible [Ryan retires], but it’s also possible that he would serve another term. I think it’s too early to tell. And what we think the issues are now are ultimately going to change dramatically when we get to the election.” Other Reps comment.
– 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.: EconomicsWisconsin: Economics for Opinion Leaders Seminar for school board members.
– 10 a.m.: PSC prehearing conference.
– 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Tech Council’s Innovation Network-Milwaukee luncheon with Marquette University President Mike Lovell.
– 12 p.m.: WisPolitics panel on Foxconn and the state budget. Panelists include: James Wigderson, editor, RightWisconsin; Paul Maslin, Democratic pollster with FM3 Research; Mark Graul, Arena Strategy Group and Republican strategist; and Joe Zepecki, Zepecki Communications, top adviser to former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. UW-Milwaukee Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.
– 12:15 p.m.: Marquette Law School: “On the Issues” panel discussion on the Trump administration and foreign policy. Panelists include: professor Ingrid Wuerth, Vanderbilt University Law School; professor Ryan Scoville, Marquette University Law School; and Robbie Gramer, State Department reporter for Foreign Policy magazine.
– 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Wisconsin Association for Justice’s Women’s Caucus Retreat & Seminar. Wisconsin Dells.
– 5 p.m.: McCabe campaign: Rally in Green Bay
– 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce’s Milwaukee “Chamber Muster.” Networking event for veterans, professionals, business owners and community leaders.
– 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.: WWBIC: “Setting up an LLC” seminar. Madison.
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