Republican divisions over the state budget took a Monday today as Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald raised the prospect of his house doing its own version of the document.
Bypassing the JFC would be unprecedented in the 106-year history of the committee, according to Legislative Fiscal Bureau Director Bob Lang.
Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker again threatened to use his veto pen if the budget lawmakers send him doesn’t meet his commitment to have property taxes in 2018 lower than in 2014.
That line in the sand is at the heart of the escalating GOP tensions, particularly since the guv’s own proposal now misses that mark with the lottery credit falling below his administration’s mark.
Joint Finance originally planned to meet today and Thursday this week, but called off today’s executive session.
Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told reporters today his caucus may pull together its own version of the budget if the committee is unable to meet this week. He hoped that wouldn’t happen and that JFC could still finish the budget in time that both houses could act on it by the end of June before the fiscal year ends.
“If they don’t meet Thursday, then we’re in a rougher spot than I thought we were,” Fitzgerald said.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, slammed the possibility that Republicans might work around the usual budget-writing process, saying the GOP needs to come to the Joint Finance Committee “prepared to publicly debate the issues.”
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