By MI President Brett Healy | July 18, 2017 MacIver Institute
[Madison, Wisc...] Looking to get stalled budget negotiations "back on track," Senate Republicans on Tuesday rolled out a budget blueprint that, not surprisingly, looks a good deal like Gov. Scott Walker's two-year spending plan - but built on heftier borrowing.
Now, said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the budget ball is back in the GOP-led Assembly's court.
"My point is to try to get the process back on track," said the Juneau Republican, surrounded by seven members of his caucus at a Capitol press event that, like the budget process, was delayed.
The budget plan and the accompanying press conference were manifestations of a Senate caucus that has been toiling in recent weeks to complete the people's business, even as the Assembly has lacked a "sense of urgency," Fitzgerald asserted.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, was less than impressed.
"There was nothing new in anything that they said. I found that kind of surprising. I thought there would be some kind of revelation," Steineke told MacIver News Service.
Indeed, much is the same. The Senate plan includes the budget items already approved by the Legislature's budget committee, staying true to much of the governor's 2017-19 budget proposal.
The Senate trims about $427 million in all-funds spending from Walker's version, with help in part from a reduction in 400-plus state jobs (255 of them at DOT). And it leans a lot heavier on borrowing than Walker's original $500 million transportation bonding proposal. The Senate's $712 million ask is significantly higher than the Republican governor's $300 million transportation bonding compromise deal offered earlier this month as a negotiations spur. READ the REST