Walker hopes Legislature will take up Foxconn bill, budget concurrently

With legislative leaders at odds over whether to do the Foxconn bill or the budget first, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he is confident he can persuade them to take up both at the same time.

Still, Walker deflected a question of whether he would revise his last offer to the Legislature on transportation in light of the general fund supported borrowing included in the Foxconn bill for a key stretch of freeway in southeastern Wisconsin near the plant site.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said yesterday he wanted to finish the budget before taking up the $3 billion bill, while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the priority is Foxconn.

Walker told reporters he continues to meet with legislative leadership and joked he believed both pieces of legislation could be done with enough time left over to help Washington, D.C., figure out health care.

“I think the best approach is, unlike Washington, we can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Walker said.

One of the sticking points for Assembly and Senate Republicans has been transportation. Walker last month sought to break the impasse by suggesting $203.5 million he originally wanted to put into income tax cuts could instead be used for a cash investment in roads. His offer also suggested that approach would wipe out the need for new bonding supported by state funds, though there was the possibility of additional bonding based on future federal appropriations and revenue-supported bonds.

The Foxconn bill, meanwhile, includes $252.4 million in general-fund supported bonds for I-94 north-south that would be contingent upon the state receiving additional federal aid.

Asked if he would revise his offer in light of that, Walker mentioned his meetings with lawmakers and said, “My hope is in the next couple of days we can bring both those caucuses together and move forward on a budget.”

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