Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he’s confident the budget that came out of Joint Finance last week will pass his chamber, but he didn’t venture an opinion as to what the Senate or Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will do with it.
“We’re really confident that we have a budget that Wisconsin likes,” the Rochester Republican told “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
Vos said he hopes Evers will sign it.
“There is lots for people to look at and be supportive of, and I hope he’ll join Republicans in showing we can have a bipartisan budget,” Vos said.
“UpFront” reporter Matt Smith asked Vos if Republican leadership is still considering splitting the budget into two bills, one policy and one fiscal. That could give Republicans a way around some potential vetoes from Evers.
“It’s possible. We haven’t made that final decision yet. But I will say the four most important things that Gov. Evers put in the budget are things that we also agreed with, just not the same methodology,” Vos said.
“We have money for roads, we have money for schools, we have money for health care, and a middle-income tax cut. So, it seems like there’s an awful lot to agree on, albeit not necessarily the same route that he took. We took a much more conservative approach,” Vos said.
Should Evers veto the entire budget, Vos said Republicans would “spend the summer going around the state telling people why the budget that we passed is the one he should have signed, and we would try for an override and have Democrats hopefully feel the pressure of a budget that everybody should be able to be supportive of.”
Smith asked whether the budget could get hung up in the Senate. Vos said “any conservative who looks at this budget could say ‘this is a good one for Wisconsin, and also reasonable’ knowing we have a very liberal Democratic governor.”
“I have been working so closely with Sen. Fitzgerald. I do want to say, of course we’ve had our disagreements over the past few years, but it sure works a lot easier when we’re on the same team and we have the same vision,” Vos said.
In another segment, state Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, said Evers “should leave all options on the table” for executive action on the budget. Goyke serves on the Joint Committee on Finance.
“I think it’s premature to say what the governor should do or shouldn’t do, because we just don’t have a final product yet,” Goyke said, pointing out the Assembly and Senate still have to vote on it and could make changes.
Goyke said potential problems are emerging in the Republican-controlled Senate. Some GOP senators have said they have problems “with the overall level of spending,” Goyke said.
Goyke said the budget “missed the mark” on transportation spending, education and health care, and he said Republicans were “fiscally irresponsible” for not taking the Medicaid expansion.
He also said the overall process of writing the budget in Joint Finance “was not a collaborative one.”
“Republicans would meet in a closed room somewhere in the Capital. I didn’t get an invite. They would come in with their final product, and then we would duke it out in the committee,” he said.
Also on the program, Jerry Deschane, executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, said he gives high marks to the plan for transportation funding that came out of Joint Finance.
“A high B, B plus, maybe even an A minus on a good day,” Deschane said.
“They addressed the whole system, but particularly city, village and town streets, which as you know have been in dire straits for a long time,” he said.
“I think it’s safe to say this is the most progress we’ve made on this problem in 10 years,” Deschane said.
Road improvements will be felt around the state, he said, if the transportation funding plan goes through.
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